The Most Important Pattern
I snuck into business. I wasn’t supposed to be here. I didn’t go to business school. I was a first-grade teacher. Well, at least that was true once. The truth changes. I did spend a year studying organizational behavior and other MBA stuff. But that’s not what this story is about, so let’s go back to where I was.
After teaching, I was an executive recruiter — that’s right a headhunter — for high-level sales positions. Then I was a territory sales rep that handled two states, selling shirts wholesale for the Phillips Van Heusen Corporation. I even worked in an Interior Design Firm. None of these jobs quite fit me. They were fun, but not where I wanted to be.
Eventually I decided to use my degree again. I started freelance writing about education for magazines, textbooks, and finally for developers who worked for educational publishers. Then I got a job directing a group that included editorial, design, production, typesetting, and printing. That led to my first real publishing job — I was the youngest Executive Editor my new employer had ever hired.
At the beginning of my business career, I felt that without a business school education I had lost out on knowing how business worked. I wanted to know what the unwritten rules were.
I even said out loud, “Just tell me the rules. I’m an overachiever. I like to do the impossible.” But no one came through with the answers. I’d missed the secret handshake and I’d missed everything.
I kept doing the only thing I knew how. I paid attention and processed all of the information I could. I read hundreds of books on management — I learned Drucker inside out. I read all of Tom Peters. The list was extensive and encompassing. That’s when I got interested in organizational behavior, and looked for patterns in everything.
I discovered the most important pattern of all.
You can do anything you want in business, IF you can show how itÃ¢â¬â¢s in the companyÃ¢â¬â¢s best interest.
Why didn’t I see that sooner? That’s true of everything. What have you done lately to frame what your goals in terms of those around you?
Ã¢â¬âME Ã¢â¬ÅLizÃ¢â¬Â Strauss
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