Enter a dojo anywhere in the world and the same scene unfolds.
Everyone who enters – the devoted regular who waits all day to let off the steam, the pair of teens who show up straight from the weight room, the Master bringing in decades of practice, and the person who has just shown up for the first time because of a half-price coupon take their places in the lineup, left to right, absolute beginner to revered sensei.
What seems at first to be rigid and purely hierarchical is actually a unique and ever-evolving kind of playing field: the person on your left has experience that they can teach you. The person on your right can learn from you. Each position contains challenges and opportunities.
One may have less physical strength, but they have honed the ability to anticipate your next move. Another may have been working on a movement for a while, but it finally clicks when they show it to someone who is trying it for the first time. Whatever happens in the class begins, ends, and stems from the lineup.
Your career lines up the same way. Who can you advise, who can help you? When you stand to the left, it seems natural that the whole company is there to help you learn and compliments you when you deliver. Move up, you get more responsibility and less praise. In the middle of the line, panic sets in. It’s the most terrifying place to be. The expectations aren’t as clear, except it feels like you have to know it all and do it all alone.
And when you move all the way to the right? You need to find another school, develop other ways of thinking, because if you become a sensei but stop learning, eventually, you’ll destroy yourself.
In this book, you will learn how to take full advantage of your place in the lineup of your work life and how, by being relentless about learning from everyone around you, you can ensure that you have a place despite the accelerating pace and scale of technological change.
Whether you are an intern on the left wondering what in the world you’re doing or a seasoned executive standing on the right and wondering where in the world the world is going, you will find practical tips for each stage, concrete examples, and action steps to build your ability to respond, not just react to whatever comes your way – punch, kick, or promotion – by bridging generations, mindsets, and experiences.
What does it take to optimise every stage, challenge, and opportunity? Here you will find a few examples from the lineup to get you in position to get what you want:
– Shift your thinking beyond what people say to why they say it
– Give form to what you are doing (and Follow One Course Until Success)
– Push your ego aside so you can learn something
– Connect with people from left to right and beyond your network