If you are a manager, the biggest requirement of the job is results.
But what’s the second biggest requirement?
I contend it’s learning.
Why? Easy. We live in a time of change. I would argue that it’s the biggest and fastest rate of change in human history. Maybe that’s off base, but ultimately it doesn’t matter where it ranks, the point is that things are changing rapidly for all of us in the working world . . . well, you can easily eliminate the word “working” from that sentence and still be right.
When it comes to learning, it’s important to be doing so constantly. Fortunately, there are lessons everywhere.
I remember a couple of years ago I was watching a woman on Fox News named Ainsley Earhardt. She had visited her alma mater, the University of South Carolina, and Fox filmed a lot of it. She hit all her old haunts, including the journalism school. They taped her giving advice to students – advice that can easily apply to managers today. Perhaps not all managers. But certainly some.
In essence, she told them three things:
1. Say yes to all assignments
2. Keep a good attitude
3. Work long hours
Maybe that’s not universally true. But for managers who want to go places, that advice could not be more true, more accurate.
If you want to be on your way up the corporate ladder then take heed. Too many managers get caught up in “today.” They get concerned with how many hours they work. What their pay is. Who got the better parking spot, and a thousand other minor details that their boss and more importantly their company could care less about.
While it’s true that you ultimately work for yourself. Yes, you have a company that writes you a paycheck, but unless that’s your final destination, where you go and what you do depends an awful lot more on you than it does on that company.
Earhardt’s advice was to invest in yourself – take on more work, do the things others won’t. That’s how you stand out. That’s how you make yourself a success. It’s great advice.
So think about it. Your choices are, you can focus on today and whether or not you put in a few hours that perhaps you didn’t get credit for. You can have a rotten attitude and resent the very place you spend eight or more hours a day. You can cut corners because you aren’t appreciated or because you don’t believe you are compensated well enough.
Do all that and I’m betting a few years from now you’ll be singing the same song – probably in a different job.
Or you can listen to Earhardt. It seems to have worked out pretty well for her.
Next week: Lessons for negative political campaigns

Business Playbook is written by Tim Timmons. Timmons’ book, Coaching Success: Creating Champions for the Business World is available at www.tim-timmons.com.