This is one of the volumes in a series of anthologies of articles that first appeared in Harvard Business Review. Having read all of them when they were published individually, I can personally attest to the high quality of their authors' (or co-authors') insights as well as the eloquence with which they are expressed. This collection has two substantial value-added benefits that should also be noted: If all of the articles were purchased separately as reprints, the total cost would be at least $60-75; also, they are now conveniently bound in a single volume for a fraction of that cost.
Those who are determined to accelerate their professional growth and career advancement will find the material in this HBR book invaluable. Authors of the 11 articles provide material that focuses on challenges and related issues that include breaking out of a career rut, being included on their company's high-potential list, finding out what's really holding them back, obtaining the kind of mentoring that can lead to a promotion, grooming themselves for an external move, turning the job they have into the job they want, cracking the code for C-suite entry, and taking control of their career after being fired.
I now provide four brief excerpts that are representative of the high quality of all the articles:
In "How Will You Measure Your Life?" (Pages 1-16), an article that later developed into a recently published book, Clayton Christensen shares several insights such as remembering the importance of humility: "I asked all the students [in his class at Harvard Business School] to describe the most humble person they knew. One characteristic of these humble people stood out: They had a high level of self-esteem. They knew who they were, and they felt good about who they were. We also decided that humility was defined not by self-deprecating behavior or attitudes but by the esteem with which you regard others. Good behavior flows naturally from that kind of humility."
In "Job-Hopping to the Top and Other Career Fallacies" (57-69), Minoka Hamori identifies and then rigorously refutes four, then suggests lessons that executives can learn from each:
1. Job-Hoppers Prosper
2. A Move Should Be a Move Up
3. Big Fish Swim in Big Ponds
4. Career and Industry Switchers Are Penalized
"Every career is unique, and a move that's right for you might turn out to be disastrous for your colleague, even one whose résumé and career goals are similar to yours...What's important is to look at each move with a critical eye, putting aside conventional wisdom and other people's assumptions to make the choice that fits your own ambitions."
In "Are You a High Potential?" (71-87) the co-authors (Douglas A. Ready, Jay A. Conger, and Linda A. Hill) suggest that the "real differentiators" between and among people -- what we call the 'X factors' -- are somewhat intangible and usually don't show up on lists of leadership competencies or on performance review forms. Here are those factors, which tip the scales and help you achieve and maintain that coveted high-potential rating":
X Factor #1: A Drive to Excel
X Factor #2: A Catalytic Learning Capability
X Factor #3: An Enterprising Spirit
X Factor #4: Dynamic Sensors
"Performance always counts; your behavior matters more and more as you grow; and those X factors are your secret weapons."
In "Five Ways to Bungle a Job Change" (119-131), Boris Grosberg and Robin Abrahams explain that the mistakes they have identified "are not independent of one another; they play out as a system of maladaptive behaviors, dissatisfaction, unrealistic hopes, ill-considered moves, and more dissatisfaction." Here they are:
Mistake #1: Not doing enough research
Mistake #2: Leaving for money
Mistake #3: Going "from" rather than "to"
Mistake #4: Overestimating yourself
Mistake #5: Thinking short term
"Perhaps the best protection against career-management mistakes is self-awareness. It's a broad concept, encompassing not only an understanding of your career-relevant strengths and weaknesses but also insight into the kinds of mistakes you are prone to make. It involves knowing how to correct for those tendencies, how others perceive you, when to consult a trusted mentor or network, what elements of a job make it truly satisfying for you, and what substitutes a healthy work-life balance." (119-131)
Success Mapping (2nd Edition): Achieve What You Want . . . Right Now!
What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful
Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter
Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream
Whitney L. Johnson
Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals
Heidi Grant Halvorson