Monday, November 17, 2008

Aerodynamic Career Style?

Careers follow the laws of aerodynamics. There are two main opposite style types of making career. You may choose to become a "Balloon Career Maker"(BCM) or a "Wing Career Maker (WCM).

Let's start with the most traditional way to make career

The Wing Career Maker (WCM)
As a WCM you use the aerodynamic Lift effect to get higher on the career ladder.
Although the lift of an airplane is a combination of several effects, a substantial part is what's called the Bernoulli Effect. In short, the airplane gets lifted because the curved shape (airfoil) of a wing forces the air that flows above the wing to a higher velocity than the air under the wing. Depending on the shape and the angle of the wing, this causes a low pressure above the wing and a high pressure under the wing. The result is the desired lift. In formula :

L = K . v2 . A

(L = Lift, K = shape dependent constant, v= velocity, A =wing Area)

The WCM works just like that. By being more productive (= increase speed v), creating support for his ideas and actions (= create a larger area A), the 'beginning manager' relieves (the stress of) his superior managers (= under pressure above the wing) and - at the same time - puts pressure on his employees to perform (= High pressure under the wing). The result is he gets promoted (= lifted).

As the formula shows, 'being more productive' has an emerging quadratic effect, while 'creating support' only has a simple single multiplier effect on promotion.

By being conscious of the lift formula effects, the WCM has the opportunity to change his management style (= shape) and approach (=angle) in a way that he may reduce and calibrate the employee 'pressure effect' to a healthy (optimal) level. Reduction however, will have a negative effect on his career speed. On the other hand this healthy pressure level will motivate his employees for better performance and eventually lead to better company results on the long term.

The crucial question here is, does senior management have sight and steer on these 'long term' effects or are they only managing short time result? In the first case, promotion will lay ahead.

Now let's look at the opposite style.

The Balloon Career Maker (BCM)
The BCM makes use of another aerodynamic effect called Hot Air Balloon Lift. The heated air inside a balloon weighs less than the surrounding ambient air displaced by the balloon. The difference in the air weights is the gross lift. In formula:

L = V.g.(ρa - ρi)

(L = Lift, V= Balloon Volume, g = gravity constant, ρi = density inside, ρa = density ambient )

As BCM you don't seem to worry about your productivity and career speed. You focus on your desires and needs. You cultivate the fire that's burning within you (= heating of the air).
You invest (=heat) in yourself through study and training and expose your skills to your environment (= the air gets hot).

As a consequence you'll get noticed by higher management, who'll recognize your knowledge. Your star will rise (= Volume increases), you'll get promoted (=Lift),because you're a professional help instead of a higher management threat.

What's best?
There's no 'best way' to make career. Just be who you are and try to take advantage of thermal updrafts so that you may fly, rise and fall, like a thermal plane without working like a hound dog or studying like a madman. Enjoy life, be a glider!

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