Gautam Mukunda chose this quotation as the epigraph to his book Indispensible – When Leaders Really Matter. He raises the question of what impact individual managers have on their environment. The outcome of this reflection on ego will be the subject of a future post.
Are the individuals who make an organisation work interchangeable or are they irreplaceable? It seems to me that employability such as it is today makes the question rather redundant (don’t take this as a criticism of the book, which I really liked by the way). A position is no longer destined to be filled by one person for decades and the corollary is also true – a person is no longer destined to occupy just one position for decades. This is in no way a bitter view of the changes in the world of work. When we recruit someone – whatever the job – we choose this person for what he or she has to offer over and above the simple traditional skills needed. The recruiter is looking for the individual who will be able to grow the role, unlock potential, bring best practises or simply cast a fresh eye on important issues.
But the stuff of innovation fades over time. It gives way to a sort of complacency, a lack of drive and the feeling of having done what needed to be done. This is the moment to give a fresh impetus to one’s career; it is also time for the company to give a fresh impetus to the position. In a world where it seems that everything has already been done, in order to survive companies must recruit the best to stay effective. It is rare indeed to find a person who is able to constantly bring something new to what they do; this personality trait characterises great leaders, those whose vision consistently and repeatedly inspires others. For ordinary mortals, the only way to fuel their creativity and their individuality is to continually confront them with new challenges.
In each position, the challenges are many and varied. You simply have to know yourself well enough to know when you have nothing new to learn in a job. This opens up a vast area of possibilities – where Morgan Philips’ consultants are ready and waiting to guide you.
Charles-Henri Dumon, CEO & Founder of Morgan Philips Group