It’s Not Rocket Science – Keep Your Head in the Game

By Adam Goldstein, President & COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD

This is intended as the first in a series of relatively easy to accomplish tasks that remarkably few aspiring managers actually accomplish with regularity.  Doing these things doesn’t guarantee success in climbing the corporate ladder.  But they don’t hurt and it’s likely they’ll help. It’s up to you.

Stay Focused

I would have written this even if I hadn’t just watched the amazing Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.  But that remarkable match reflected what was on my mind.  With all the ups and downs and twists and turns in business life, it is essential to keep your head in the game and stay focused on what you need to do.  While the two tennis champions did that for four hours, in business you need to do that for days, weeks, months, years.

In business you never are operating on a complete set of information.  This uncertainty pervades your interaction with the market, your understanding of your competitors and your relationships with supervisors, subordinates and peers.  By staying focused on your objectives and how to execute against them, you maximize your chances for success in any endeavor.  You cannot expect to glean every relevant insight but even one or two more might make a difference to your results and your career.

In an age where allegedly most young people do not expect to have long careers with their present employers, it stands to reason that the normal distractions will have even greater impact.  As soon as things begin to go differently than you have planned, why not start considering alternatives to your present situation?  Well, for one thing, the business world is full of adversity and challenges everywhere, because people and uncertainty are everywhere.  It’s unlikely there is another place that is just magical all the time.

Another reason is that as senior executives we value up and comers who demonstrate resilience like the tennis champions display on championship Sunday.  While we might look for rising stars who only ever rise, a more likely scenario is rising stars who encounter and have to overcome obstacles along the way. That scenario is not only more realistic but in all probability a better preparation for success at the top.

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Of course, there are a lot of valid reasons for someone to move on in their career.  Perseverance for its own sake is likely to be career limiting in its own way.  My point is that before you pull the trigger on a decision to change course, ask yourself if you really have probed your current situation for all of its potential and if you have been focused on the critical success factors or for whatever reason distracted.  You may find there’s more opportunity right in front of you than you had perceived.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn.

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