Successful People

All successful people do two things well. They manage themselves and they manage their boss. Some people think success is about luck being in the right place at the right time, others think that money and power led to successes rather than the other way round. But even if you have luck, money and power if you can't manage yourself or your boss you won't be successful. To illustrate the point here is a modern take on the Genie in the lamp.

A manager and two of their staff are walking across the car park having just returned from a lengthy and rather unproductive meeting with colleagues in Health when one of them trips over a rust old lamp. They pick it up, examine it and are just about to throw it away when their colleague jokingly says, "aren't you going to give it a rub?" So they give it a quick rub on their sleeve. There is a puff of smoke and before them floats a Genie who offers them 3 wishes. The social worker says "me first" and wishes to be on a sun kissed beach in Barbados being served chilled cocktails and fruit kebabs. No sooner are the words spoken than they disappear. The senior social worker says "fantastic, I 'm next" and wishes to be on their own luxury yacht cruising around the Greek Islands complete with celebrity chief and full crew. They immediately vanish. The Genie turns to the manager  and asks their wishes. The manager replies “I want those two back in the office after lunch".

The lesson here is if you were managing your manager effectively you would have got them out of the way by letting them go first!

The lamp is next found by a passing social worker who having heard the rumours knows exactly what to do and what to wish for. Their first and second wish having been granted with a cheeky grin they say “My third wish is to have 3 more wishes ". But of course magic doesn't work like that and their two previous wishes are immediately undone and a dirty oily stain appears on their jacket where they have rubbed it with the rust leaky old lamp.

The lesson is that being a smart arse or not having any insight into your own behaviour means you lose out even when everything is in your favour.

Blair McPherson former Director of community services, author and commentator on the public sector


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