Friday, June 30, 2006

What can Paris Hilton and Jade Goody teach us about work!?

Would you believe that heiress Paris Hilton is launching her debut single in July? And surely you would have thought someone was joking when reality TV star Jade Goody launched her own fragrance onto the market?

But these are no jokes; no one is laughing - except perhaps Paris and Jade, all the way to the bank.

Even though you'd be hard pressed to say that they are good role models for anyone, they do at least illustrate an important point about how to achieve success at work: Being visible and having a Profile counts.

In the world of work, we all know people who are incredibly good at their jobs - but who haven't been promoted. Perhaps it's because they don't play the political game or because they would rather let their achievements speak for themselves rather than talking them up. And we all know people who aren't that good at their jobs, but they're good at talking about themselves, saying the right things, being visible - and unfortunately it seems to be this latter crowd that often gets the promotions, the sexy projects, the kudos and glory.

Arguably, you could say that Paris Hilton has no real talents other than the fact that she turns up to the opening of an envelope and is never knowingly over-dressed. And Jade Goody has no talents as a singer or dancer or actor or comic - she's known simply for being a self-publicist. But simply having a Profile has done both of these celebrities a world of good.

The same goes for the world of work too. It doesn't matter how good you are unless people know it. Being seen to be good at your job and having your contributions recognised by the right people - that's the important lesson in getting ahead. It's not fair; it's not right. But, hey, that's the way the organisational cookie crumbles.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Working life ain't simple any more

There was a time when you worked hard and merely did what your boss told you to do. In return, your employer looked after you, and you just carried on working hard until you received your gold carriage clock on retirement. But that simple career path is dead now. There are more threats in the world of work. Mergers and acquisitions as well as jobs being outsourced or offshored mean that jobs are that much more precarious. And flatter organisations mean fewer promotions - and more of a bun-fight to get the few that remain. And these have turned the workplace into a minefield of treacherous personalities, unexploded resentments, and ticking egos. As an employee, how do navigate office politics and get ahead? As a manager or business owner, how do you groom your team and grow your business? For all of us, how do we succeed?

But there are more opportunities for bright people too. People are much more mobile in their careers - the talented people realise that they can seek bigger pay rises and greater responsibility by moving around. Or you could go freelance or set up your own business and try to make your first million (or your tenth). The world is literally your oyster.

Well the oyster that is your world of work is what this blog is about. As a business psychologist I get to work with a huge variety of people - from vice presidents in large investment banks and partners in law firms to managers in the public sector, owners of start-up media businesses, and even entrepreneurs before they've got their business plan sorted. So if you want to succeed - whether you're an employee or a manager, a job hunter or an entrepreneur - then this is the blog for you.

So I hope you'll come on this journey with me as I explore Murmurs and Musings about the World of Work. If you have any thoughts, let me know - leave me a comment.