Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

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Are your experiences also your liabilities?

January 27th, 2009 · No Comments

Looking back on his first stint in the White House, Emanuel says, "If I knew in the first year of the first term what we knew by the first year of the second term, history would have been different." Yet no one knows better than Emanuel that he will have to retool himself in some ways. And he is the first to acknowledge that every one of the qualifications he brings to the job can be a liability if not managed correctly. "I know the place, and I have some knowledge," he says of the White House. "The disadvantage is, I know it around one President. Every President brings a different style of management, a different philosophy, and you’ve got to get yourself rewired to that." – An Enforcer Named Rahm Emanuel, Time Magazine.

Time Magazine recently ran a very interesting story of the new White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. He was a top aide to President Clinton and was a congressman as well. He was a Washington insider. But, he had come out to say that his qualifications could be turned into liabilities. He needed to adjust to new leadership and environment.

I think this is a very important lesson that is very applicable to the professional world. I still remembered a meeting I attended while I was working for a large Fortune-500 company. There were two Senior Vice Presidents in the meeting.

SVP #1: “While I was working at GE, I did A, B, and C. That’s why we were so successful. We need to do the same thing here.”

SVP #2: “Well, just looked at my track record at company X. We followed my strategy, and implemented Y and Z. I’ve been doing this at two different companies. It always worked.”

Both of them are smart and successful executives. But, I’m not sure their past glories will make them successful in their current company. They’re working for a different boss, the culture is different, and the competitive dynamic is different.

You definitely want to leverage your past experiences. But, you need to adjust and adapt.

Otherwise, your strength, experience, and qualifications will become your liabilities.

Tags: Career Fast Track

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