Most of us have heard the Andrew Grove’s phrase “success breeds complacency” but many miss the second half that says “…complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”
I have witnessed many occasions where the more established members of our industry rely on their years in employment rather than proof of a healthy track record as a measurement of success. Simply digging into their claims can take the wind out of their sails but it’s the number of employers who bother to check that is equally as concerning. This is what I call a Mindslide where who a person really is can be compromised as a result of negative external influences and factors.
Achievements from the past definitely contribute to the foundations of future successes but it is what and how the professional operates between then and now that makes the difference between defining them as an asset or a liability. It is important to take a healthy approach to your career and see it as a series of steps that reach your end goal. There will be some who are lucky to take just a few steps to achieve their’s but for most many more will be taken and even then they may not make it to their end. However, there are those who think they can shortcut their path by thinking a job title is more important than experience and these are the ones to watch out for.
For those that make the time, a quick scan of your connections on LinkedIn can throw up self-awarded labels such as ‘expert’, ‘guru’, and ‘director’ that have little or no honour behind them. A double check on Duedil.com also helps in many cases to confirm the professional stamina of an individual’s career or whether they are a naive serial entrepreneur that relies more on the answer than the actual working out*.
We live in a fast-paced world where information overload can mean we can easily overlook the truth or the facts we need to make the best decisions. As a result, not only can those embarking on their first step of the career ladder ‘fudge’ their CV, but anyone with a foot on a rung further up can encourage their age and tenure to overshadow their relevance in a current position or project.
Due-diligence is imperative to corporate processes and procedures, just look at Blackstone’s recent investigations into Dell, but this practice can be harder to impress upon and uphold when it comes to people. However, much time and money is invested and wasted because of our lackadaisical approach to recruiting more mature members of our workforce. Lazy middle management and over-paid roles for under-performing senior directors have bloated businesses and induced a lethargy in our industry.
Now is the time to take a fresh take at the way our workforce is recruited and avoid a mindslide; how our HR teams integrate better into board-level and frontline strategies; and prune away the dead wood to allow fresh growth to emerge and benefit our businesses. We must stop resting on laurels that are gathering dust and ensure we are always primed and relevant to the demands of our industry today. Those with gaps in their abilities must not fear exposure and instead use this opportunity to re-skill and learn from those with the experience needed to remain relevant.
In an ageing population where the retirement age of 65 has been phased out, there will be more and more professionals who may be considering a complete change of career or a skills upgrade so that they can remain successful. With Generation Z in employment and their approach to work, complacency in the mature workforce could be suicidal regardless of how much experience is in their possession.
Perhaps Andrew Grove was correct in thinking only the paranoid survive. And now, more than ever is being a paranoid employer a healthy characteristic for the future success of their business.
*methodology, calculation, etc…