The key to success in running a business I have come to learn is to zero in on essential triggers for success, and execute flawlessly. As my father, a highly successful retail baker liked to say, “It isn’t rocket science.”
That is not to say that there isn’t a lot of complexity, especially when you think of your average community hospital which Peter Drucker described as “the most complex of human organizations ever devised by man.” So, before the management theory scolds jump to discount what I am saying, let me be clear: I am not saying all problems are really easy to solve if we will only relax and let them be simple. The point is that complex problems do not always require complex answers. In fact, as we have demonstrated so convincingly time and again in our effort to improve quality of care and enhance patient safety, devising complex solutions often do not produce the results we expected or needed, they become a part of a bigger, more expensive problem.
The lesson is that executives do not get credit for leading large, high-profile teams charged with solving a big, nasty recurring problem, unless they succeed. There are no career brand bonus points awarded for the complexity of a problem or the solution, just for successful, sustainable results. Successful, sustainable results may not be the only criteria for advancement, but they are numbers one and two, and you must be able to connect your success to the needs of the prospective employer who has come calling.
Brand management for some executives is an abstract concept they struggle to comprehend. For many it is irrelevant or unimportant. I am of the firm belief that those executives are sadly mistaken unless they have already achieved the status of an accomplished system CEO in the last job of their career. Others feel it is a concept that is not only too abstract but they do not want to look foolish or be accused of shameless boosterism.
I have been writing and lecturing about career brand management since the mid-1990s, advocating that it is an essential skill set for executives who want to maximize their career potential. What has surprised me over the last three to four years is how its importance has grown as we enter a period of structural realignment of the business model. It is now a critical career management skill.
The good news is this is not rocket science. You do not have to get lost in devising complex strategies and tactics. Focus on the triggers that will lead to success. They are not hard concepts to master.
In the end, it always come down to the results.
© 2020 John Gregory Self