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We Shall Overcome

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Image: Bob RosnerSure, times are tough. One of the most interesting discussions I’ve ever read about surviving tough times comes from a book called, “The Lessons of Experience: How successful executives develop on the job” by McCall, Lombardo and Morrison (Lexington Books, 1988).

The book was a result of extensive interviews with executives on many topics. The most interesting section was on hardship. Five specific hardships were identified by the executives:

·      A personal trauma threatening the health and well-being of the executive or the executive’s family

·      A career setback involving demotions and missed promotions

·      Changing jobs, in which some executives risked their careers to get out of a dead end job

·      Business mistakes, in which bad judgment and poor decisions led to failure

·      A subordinate performance problem forcing the executive to confront people with issues of incompetence or with problems such as alcoholism

What did the researchers find after talking with the executives about hardship?

“As research has shown, the recognition and acceptance of limitations, followed by an effort to redirect oneself, are characteristic of successful people in general. It was how the executive responded, then, not the event itself, that is the key to understanding hardships.”

Duh! Could anything be more obvious?

Maybe, and maybe not.

Tough times have a funny way of eroding your foundation. Causing you to question yourself, lose confidence and get tentative. All of the things that make it harder to respond to challenges at work.

It’s important to remember that tests come with the turf. We’re all tested.

It’s not bad luck. Or a hassle. It’s part of the dance. Pardon another cliché, but this too shall pass.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.


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