Do you want to become a high flier in a big corporation?
If so, do you have the stamina, the self-confidence and the drive to get there?Pro. C. Brooklyn Derr and Candace Jones, University of Utah College of Business, recently studied 30 major U.S. corporations. They interviewed and observed top managers in the process of deciding who was going to lead their companies which one percent of the employees were going to rise through the ranks, and keep rising, to become the next CEOs or vice presidents.
Based on what they actually see happening in big corporations, Derr and Jones compiled the following "Success Orientation Exercise."
1. (A) I don't mind stressful and pressure situations and even find them rather exciting, or (B) I don't like stressful situations.
2. (A) I am geographically bound and wouldn't or couldn't move even if it meant a significant career advancement, or (B) I am willing to move with the best employment opportunities.
3. (A) Socializing and networking aren't particularly important to me, or (B) I believe it is important to be part of the right "groups" and social networks (even off-the-job) in order to be successful at work.
4. (A) I am career-oriented but my goal is not especially to advance up the hierarchy, or (B) I want to get ahead and move up the organization.
5. (A) My partner is supportive but does not like my long hours and travel and does not see my career as his/her career, or (B) My partner supports me in traveling and working long hours, is good at and enjoys entertaining and public relations and is involved with my career.
6. (A) I love my family/relationship and I have lots of personal interests, but my work usually comes first, and it's hard for me to separate out other aspects of life from my work, or (B) I do a good job at balancing work, family and other interests, and I am clear about putting limits and parameters on my work.
7. (A) I am very good at planning my career and have made short-term, long-term and contingency plans, or (B) I go with the flow and let my career happen.
8. (A) I do my job well and believe that competence and hard work will compensate for lack of company "savoir faire" or (B) I am conscious of trying to fit into the organizational culture (e.g., the corporate dress standards, speech, informal norms and values) and am aware of how to create a good image.
9. (A) I am comfortable moving at my own pace, or (B) I like to move ahead of the pack.
10. (A) I believe that one needs both quality and sufficient quantity time in order to relate to loved ones such as children, a partner, or a friend, or (B) I believe that "quality time" is the critical variable in being a successful spouse, friend and parent.
11. (A) My heroes paid the price it required to reach laudable work objectives and make their mark, or (B) My heroes voluntarily opted out of the "rat race" in order to reach their laudable objectives.
12. (A) Interesting work and company environment are key, or (B) Adequate opportunities for advancement are critical.
13. (A) It's not particularly important to have "sponsors," or (B) It's important to have one or more "sponsors" or senior executives who are interested in me and help me learn the ropes, meet the right people and get good assignments.
14. (A) I want freedom, balance between my personal and professional life and security, or (B) Wealth, power and status.
If you choose the "A" answers on Nos. 1, 6, 7 and 11 and choose the "B" answers on all the others you are a "go-getter." In fact if you match the go-getter profile on 11 or more of the answers, you are a still a "go-getter," as Derr and Jones define one.
If you chose go-getter answers six or fewer times, you are "other-directed." If you chose go-getter answers more than six and fewer than 11 times, you take a more "well-balanced" approach to work.
No need to be ashamed if you don't desire to be a high-flier in a big corporation, says Derr. He, himself, doesn't define success in terms of being a go-getter.
But if you are a woman and a go-getter, his study raises some key issues, he says. There is currently only one way to get where you want to go, the way males have traditionally done it: Work 70-hour weeks. Move every few years. Make it big by the time you are 45.
He says, "Few companies have alternative fast tracks for dual-career couples or for women coming back into the work force when their children are older."