Rule #11 – Take Your Job Seriously, Not Yourself

This one’s older than dirt. Maybe that’s because it’s true.

Patrick Lencioni kicks off his excellent book The 5 Temptations of a CEO with Temptation #1: Choose RESULTS over STATUS. He explains, “Make results the most important measure of personal success OR step down.”

Put your emphasis on the task or responsibility before you. Don’t get caught up in how you look or your reputation. Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden put it quite simply: “Choose character over reputation.”

A century before Wooden, Abraham Lincoln made the same point with the analogy of a tree and its shadow: “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

Hey, if those guys say it’s true, then you can take it to the bank.

So, be the “real thing.” Take your job seriously instead of yourself. You may well find that this approach comes with the bonus of an impeccable reputation and, who knows, maybe even high status. (But if you try to go in the reverse, chances are that you’ll end up with neither.)

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld