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Career Corner
The Reason Careers Fail

Ramon Greenwood -- Failures or shortfalls in careers do not usually result from the lack of education and training. The number one reason for such disappointments is most often not knowing "how to work".

Said another way, the difference between winners and losers in the world of work is that achievers know how to translate their "know-what-to-do" skills into "how-to-get-things-done" strategies and actions.

People who can carry out the procedural functions associated with a job are a dime a dozen. But those who can manage people and resources to complete a successful project are in the minority.

Career Tip: Common sense is the key

Without common sense, the careerist is severely handicapped in driving ideas from incubation to results. He may have brilliant ideas, but unless he can move them through the organization to achieve tangible results, those ideas will die without serving a useful purpose for anyone.

Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, father of the U.S. nuclear navy, put it this way: "What it takes to do a job will not be learned from management courses. It is principally a matter of experience, the proper attitude and common sense -- none of which can be taught in a classroom."

In his groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman posits: "I would argue the difference (between high achievers and also-rans) is quite often in the abilities called emotional intelligence, which includes self-control, zeal and persistence, and the ability to motivate oneself."

That equates to common sense in my experience.

Common sense is not very common. This rare quality is much easier to see in hindsight. Some people are lucky. They seem to have been born with common sense. But most have to work to learn its rules. Common sense can be identified and embraced by observing successful careers in action. It can be learned from studying the biographies of achievers.

Career Tip: Common sense is rare

It is the goal of this and other publications from Common Sense At Work© to provide common sense career advice for ambitious men and women who want to accelerate careers. All you read in Common Sense At Work publications is written from my real-world experiences working with a wide range of men and women from working as a common laborer in the sawmills of South Arkansas, to the power offices of the Federal government in the nation's capital, to the elegant towers of American Express's New York City headquarters and the sedate club rooms of Europe.

I have also interviewed scores of careerists including those just beginning their careers, middle manages and chief executive officers. I have benefited from the input of professionals who practice in the fields of management psychology and organizational dynamics. Finally, I have done exhaustive research on what has been written and said on the subject of how to get ahead in the world of work.

From these sources I have learned that Common sense is the essential ingredient in career success.

To get common sense advice on how to achieve your career goals subscribe to Ramon Greenwood's free semi-monthly newsletter and blog. Go to Common Sense At Work Blog. His take-it-to-the bank advice comes from a world of experience, including serving as Senior Vice President of American Express, an entrepreneur, professional director, career coach, and author.

© 2012 Ramon Greenwood

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