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July 30, 2012


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An important note is that putting in more time doesn't mean you get more done. Work smart not hard to outperform. Don't just increase your hours and put out the same amount of work.

1976. Took job as Associate Wholesale Credit Manager for $10,000 per year. After about 7 months, volunteered to handle Facilities Mgmt 'on the side' (it was a small bldg). I also began charting our DSO and delinquetcy patterns. In 2 years, the Customer Service Mgr was let go and my boss' boss asked me if I wanted the job. I did.

I worked hard but, like Lance, more smart than hard. Hired best people I could find. Company grew and so did my dept. Maxed out at staff of 55. Went from Manager to Director to Vice President. Every 3 years I would press hard on my raise and it paid off. I became a key player in our acquision team and we had lots of acquisions. After almost 37 years with the same company, I have retired at 59 yrs old with, I think, the admiration and thanks of my peers and superiors and total respect for my staff.

In my early years my raises were largely determined by my most immediate supervisor who would issue my annual performance appraisal which in addition to an appraisal of my performance always contained a raise, and once in a while, a promotion. In our aerospace company, for the engineering divisions, there were two upward paths, one was management, the other was technical. It was possible, particularly for PhD's with many years of experience, to move up the technical ladder and end up earning far more than lower level managers.

In general, to succeed it was important to volunteer for difficult tasks and then complete them on time with excellent results. Sometimes a person would fail to deliver which presented an opportunity to take over his work and complete it satisfactorily.

The latter part of my career was being in charge of R&D programs sponsored and paid for by a branch of the armed services, in our case it was the Navy. In these situations there was a lot of visibility because I had to make quarterly presentations to our Chief Scientist who kept the project on track, and then at year end the R&D program would be graded by the customer, and their grade would determine how our company would fare in the issuance of further R&D programs. These programs were a boon to the company because the government was actually footing 100% of the bill for increasing the company's analytical capabilities so I was very motivated to receive an excellent grade from the customer, which kept my manager, and his manager happy, and had a large influence on my future raises and promotions.

Absolutely true advice and this needs to be demonstrated regardless of the level you are in. As you rise up in the organization it is the sum total of the team's output that ends up being the yardstick to measure the leader of that group.

Managing expectations is important too, since it becomes tough to outperform year on year unless there is a real growth opportunity or step change in the business. That is why changing jobs or moving laterally may be a way to re-energize your career. Staying in the same place for several years and outperforming the targets for the same metrics would normally lead to a natural effect of diminishing returns.


Only higher management: high middle and above, gets adequate reward for result. Employees get their 2.0-3.5% disregarding successful group or personal performance. This is GE. I am pretty sure other corporations pursue same HR policies.

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