The Rules – Minority Success in Corporate America (Part 1 & 2 Combined)
The Rules Pt. 1 – April 2012
THE RULES: PART 1
If you didn’t know by now the corporate world can be juxtaposed to a strategic or skilled game. I personally like to compare it to a game like chess. Every piece has limitations, every piece has a role, and in order to be successful you must stay steps ahead of the competition. Just like Accenture, we all have limitations based on skills sets, in addition to aligning yourself to win the ‘game.’
I hope you enjoy!:
RULE 1: ‘This is a game…and there are rules”
– Know the language of the game, and be willing to take some risks to win.
You should most definitely learn how to speak the corporate jargon. Understanding the ACN business, in addition to learning the business jargon of the individual projects that you have been staffed on. For example you may hear someone mention “bottom line” or their margin between expenses and profit; business need and vision. In addition do not be afraid to take on the challenges on projects. Those are normally the tasks that get you noticed whether you do well on them or not. Here’s a quote: “If you do something you know you can do, it’s not a challenge” – Trent J
RULE 2: Understand How the Company Makes Money
– Become well versed in the company business model (ADM) and know what constitutes success.
Honestly, other than the networking, I think the time we spent on the ADM was the most interesting part of the Saint Charles training. We were able to really look over how the board oversees this extremely large firm, and how they estimate deliverables in addition to making their money. As an employee you must understand this, and make sure your actions and ambitions line up with the vision of the leadership. No one will rank you highly or recommend you for higher promotions if you are costing them money. Moreover if you do not understand how to apply the business model as is.
RULE 3: Deliver Results
– “People will be sympathetic with your excuses, but impressed only by your results.” Don’t be followed by ‘Don’t worry we’ll figure out a way to deal with it. The ‘we’ may not include you. Outcomes are what ultimately matter to the company. So that’s what better matter to you. What can you do? Have you done it? How well did you do it? How long did it take? How much money did it cost? If I had to explain this rule in my own words, I would probably add: “It’s just business.” Learn how to do your job, and do it well. In engineering courses you learn about the definition of efficiency: = Input/Output. Ideally you want the least amount of input to produce the maximum amount of output. Do the most you can using us the least amount of resources.
RULE 4: Aspire to greatness… in whatever you do.
– Don’t settle for ‘middle of the road’; mediocrity doesn’t get much attention until it’s ‘unwanted’; We’ll always keep good soldiers around as long as the work is there. Most people aren’t very good at sending touch messages, so the fact that you aren’t hearing them doesn’t mean that things are going great. In short: Be great and nothing less.
RULE 5: Don’t get outworked.
– ‘If you job seems easy, you’re not working hard enough.”; If you don’t know as much as the most knowledgeable people… then there’s obviously more work to be done. As I mentioned earlier, you must challenge yourself. Although from time to time an easier project or task may fit better for your current life situation, when it comes to advancement and building a skillset: YOU MUST CHALLENGE YOURSELF.
THE RULES: PART 2
RULE 6 – There are no “worthless assignments”
By far one of the toughest rules to try and absorb. We all know there are some tasks that have come across our desk that seem pretty worthless. The value may not come from the deliverable, but it comes from the person that assigned it to you. This is an opportunity to build a relationship with a cons, manager, senior mang, etc and identify a work ethic with your ‘brand’. Regardless of the task if you perform it well and deliver on time and of high quality you will be remembered for that. These types of instances allow ‘higher-ups’ to gain a sense of accountability for your success. Thus they trust you, and will vouch for you when it comes time for promotions, raises, and being staffed.
RULE 7 – “Master the context, not just the content”
Personally, this was probably one of my greatest challenges in college. Taking a course that you cared nothing about, but you needed to graduate. There may come some tasks like this across your desk. Although you may not be fond of them, it is your responsibility to take the task and master it’s content. It’s tough to know ‘how’ if you don’t know the ‘what and why.’
RULE 8 – “Sweat the Details”
Think about this one in the example of studying for an exam. You try and pick out the topics that the professor will more than likely test you over. The things they covered heavily in class; because of the lack of time you decide to skip the foot notes and optional readings they suggested at the beginning of the course. Then when you arrive to the test, you find out 80% of the test came from the optional text. To prevent a mishap like this, pay attention to details. Put yourself in the shoes of the client or even your supervisor to see how they might question your deliverable so you can make good judgment to whether it is sufficient.
RULE 9 – “Never forget that a certain level of professionalism is expected at all times”
It is not ok to have a blue jean Friday attitude Monday morning. Remember this is your job/career you are here to make sure the company’s bottom line is met, and maximum value is created for our clients. Moreoever, you are expected to do so with an expected level of professionalism. Checking voicemails, e-mails, taking copious notes during meetings/discussions, and keeping your appearance neat and clean. You do not want to ruin the quality of your work, with a bad impression of your professionalism.
RULE 10 – “Understanding the difference between Leadership, Management, and Execution”
Everyone wants to be a leader, even more want to manage (or micro-manage for that matter), but only few can effectively execute.
- a) Executionis exactly that getting the work done. How much can you output, with minimal input at a high level in a short amount of time.
- b) Management being able to understand planning, variables, cost, TIME, quality and resources.
- c) Leadership This does not necessarily need to be a title or position. Ask yourself would anyone want to follow me? Can you motivate people with a clear vision of what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and most importantly how you plan to do it.
With Passion, Purpose, and Pride,
Trent J ACEO