Recently I read "Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers" by James Citrin and Richard Smith. They based their book on a survey of 16,000 top executives. Therefore the authors’ points are often more believable since they are backed by statistics (“Extraordinarily successful executives lead careers that fully leverage both their strengths and their passions six times as often as the average employee.”) Their ideas helped me identify a few patterns in my career which have been both helpful and detrimental.
In general, I am surprised there aren’t more books written on this topic (Amazon suggests “Career Warfare." One of my favorites “First 90 Days” is obviously more focused but a similar theme). The structure of the book might have been improved if they provided more than five principles from which the reader could have selected depending their type of career. The book does make a basic assumption that the reader is climbing the corporate ladder as opposed to being a small business owner, a teacher, etc.
While reading the book, I often thought the authors could have spent more time giving examples on how a principle was used by a more typical executive, instead of providing a longer narrative on how a principle was used by a super-successful CEO. However while reading this book, I mostly thought about how helpful it would have been if I had read it or a book like it earlier in my career; and that I need to make sure I keep this book and these type of ideas close in mind as my career progresses.
They five patterns are
1) Understanding the Value of You - align your activities with how value is created by the organization.
2) Practice Benevolent Leadership - benevolent leaders don't claw their way to the top but are carried there.
3) Solve the Permission Paradox - gain experience by doing those things that you weren’t explicitly told you could do.
4) Differentiate Using the 20/80 Principle of Performance - meet your objectives and then use remaining resources to generate the most value to your company.
5) Find the Right Fit - strengths, passions, and people.
The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent my company's positions, strategies, or opinions