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Internal Scorecard #1

The Internal Scorecard

I think there's a tremendous amount of misconceptions regarding achievement, productivity, creativity, ambition, work, work rate, work ethic, and so on.

So I'm thinking of publishing some analysis weekly with examples of what happened in the week, successes and failures, noteworthy events, what I'm reading and listening to, and so on. If it goes well, I can give you a picture of a workweek for me, intermix tactics and techniques, and give you practical guidance about what's working well and what isn't.

The Homosexual Reproduction of Careers

On Reflections

Happy New Year to everyone!

How different do you think you are? How different is your career to your friend's? What is special about you?

Well, of course there are differences. I mean, no two persons are absolutely identical but that is not the point here. We all set out to "walk our own paths". Although we have some idea of professions and similarities within them, we still think, rather naively perhaps, that we will have some uniqueness to be proud of; something that will distinguish us from the rest of the herd. Of course, there may be people who don't desire that at all but I think it might be safe to say that a vast majority of us do harbor some notion of difference, uniqueness, that will make us the "special one".

Now, reflect on the reality for a minute. You will soon see that, for all our slogans in praise of diversity, the world of work and careers look scarily homogeneous. In Sociology this phenomenon is called isomorphism but lets not get technical about life. If you look at most of the companies and the jobs of the people working inside them you will see that they kind of look very similar. The companies may be doing different things, producing or manufacturing different kinds of products, but, by and large, a lot of what people do as part of their job is institutionalized. While there may be difference between professional functions within any given company (like the difference between the finance function and the HR function), the professionals and their jobs are very similar to their direct counterparts in other companies (for example, consider the work of an accountant. The accountant in Company A isn't very different at all from the one in Company B, by and large.). Universities and professional training institutes contribute to the development of norms that get spread out once people graduate, for example, B-school graduates and professional accountants, lawyers and doctors. The elaboration of professional networks and the idiosyncrasies of formal education allow for the creation of a huge pool of interchangeable individuals who occupy similar positions across a variety of organisations and have similar profiles, orientations and dispositions. Then there are the intricate socialization processes within companies that eventually dictate personal behaviour, style of dressing, vocabularies, ways of speaking etc. This is particularly the case in service industries and within organisations with a financial orientation. If you consider consulting or financial services industry in particular, you will see that to the extent people are taken from the same school or professional orientation and filtered through a common set of attributes, you get people who, broadly speaking, have similar outlooks to problems, and who approach decisions in similar ways.

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