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Sunday, May 29, 2011


In every field that we look around whether in health, education or the corporate sector there seems to be a severe shortage of talent. As we go lower down the hierarchy we find that the competition for each position becomes more and more intense. For each position there are so many applicants and only the best able to make it. However, have you given a thought at what is happening at the top of the corporate ladder?
One of the trends that we often see is that most top positions in companies are never advertised but are filled quite fast. The two major sources of finding the right talent have been through internal networks and through Head Hunting firms. People at the top in different companies are identified as prospects and the lead is followed through by offering salary packages to attract them to the new positions. At times this work is done through Head Hunting firms who are able to act as intermediaries. Does this suggest that there is a crisis of leadership at the top of the ladder?
There is little doubt that in a competitive world that we live in today, there is intense competition at the bottom but almost no competition at the top. When we talk of competition at the top, we should be careful in understanding that the competition is between strong candidates only and unfortunately such a luxury does not exist at the top positions. The result of this shortage is that companies have to attract talent from other competing companies by paying salary packages in excess of what would normally be the case. This trend is likely to continue for the next ten years and all those aspire to be there should prepare for the coming wave. The fact that competition does not exit at the top and that good talent is a very scarce should help us all to begin to package our career accordingly.
So what are those basic principles that we can apply to reach the top and be able to stay there. Below I am listing some to the key competencies, skills and mechanisms that may be of help to all of you.
1.       Corporate visions are very large for one individual and thus it is necessary that we carry everyone together on this journey.

2.       Don’t be scared of good talent even if there is a risk of you having to take a back seat for some time. Always identify and promote competent people only to take strategic positions.

3.       You are only a small element in the whole organization setup and you will need to work towards getting recognition to move forward. This can be achieved only by selfless work during the initial years of your career. You have to look beyond self and there must be excitement to achieve targets for the company.

4.       Don’t try to always find reasons why something has not been done. People who have to rise don’t blame others for work not completed; they take full responsibility and make sure that it is executed. In Indian context we are a society of “Follow ups”, where you need to understand that reminders are necessary at every step of the work. Make it your job to ensure that you follow-up on the work to be completed.

5.       Spend time in thinking some of your weaknesses and work to overcome them over a given time frame. You can derive a lot of strength if you can find mentors within the organization.

6.       Ensure that you have good public relations within the organization. There should be people within the organization who can speak for you and your work. Always smile at the work place and don’t be a negative force within the organization.

7.       Don’t always insist on a defined role in the organization. Sometimes going beyond the call of duty and your defined roles is what pushes you forward. Be ready to share the burden of those that are not in a position to complete their work but ensure that your work does not suffer. Remember that when you share the burden of work of others in the organization you are not just helping them you are working to meet the grand objective of the company. Keep your immediate supervisor informed of the developments.

8.       Work hard but ensure that your superiors know of your work and value addition you are making. If you have time, it is a good practice to ask your superiors if you could help them on something new. This is what gives you an edge over others and you rise up the learning curve.

9.       Keep your personal relationship with co-workers out of the work place. Avoid small talk within the organization and remember that there are not friends at work place.

10.   Always practice the policy of talking to each other and avoid talking about each other. Organizational culture is nothing but how we as individuals behave at the work place. So if you don’t like the work culture of the organization, then you are the problem and also the solution to it. You can’t always hold others responsible for it.
These are some of the essential elements of success and to move up the ladder. However it is essential to remember that these are the necessary condition but they may not be sufficient by themselves. We need to develop strategic thinking of our own role and responsibilities to ensure the path to the top of the corporate structure.
Just keep climbing the ladder one step at a time.
Plan and work for success and you will end up with it….

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