Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Obligatory Honors Post 12/6/11

Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas! Or, Santa Claus, to the less enlightened. (Yes, Virginia, it's true.)

Tonight our speaker was William Hargett. I didn't catch whatever he had been the CEO of, but he was in the energy industry, oil to be specific. He spoke to us about the hallmarks of a successful employees, which are (1) showing up (2) being prepared (3) professionalism (4) doing the right things right all the time (5) exceeding expectations and (6) seizing opportunities.

One's role in a corporation, he said, begins with (1) apprentice, stretching through (2) independent contributor and (3) expert to (4) manager/mentor. He also stated that mere knowledge does not equal good business sense, or even common sense, which is refreshing to hear someone else confirm that. I have long maintained that "Knowledge = wisdom/common sense" just doesn't compute.

Elaborating upon his earlier points, Mr. Hargett said that showing up consists of (a) being there, of course (b) standard office etiquette (3) complying with the company culture (d) the cultivation of a profession appearance (try to avoid casual speech matters, informal manner of dress, etc.- perception is reality in the world of business) and (e) avoid the breakroom! Get to work and stay away from the gossips who lurk around the water cooler.

Being prepared, for its part, consists of (a) knowing and preparing for all scenarios (b) working hard (c) becoming a master of the 30-second summary (d) becoming a master of the 5-minute overall summary and (e) becoming a master of KISS- Keeping It Short & Simple. Brevity is highly valued in the professional world! And when planning for something, plan for EVERYTHING - the who, what, when, where, why, how, the resources necessary, the likely effects, you name it.

Doing a job right the first time, he said, consists of (a) prioritizing (b) working diligently to get it done right (c) considering how to improve for the future (d) considering the effects of it and (e) reporting it all correctly. He also warned that one should keep an open mind when working as part of a team.

One's professionalism depends on (a) execution of one's duties (b) teamwork (c) leading, following, or getting out of the way (Sorry, Mr. Hargett, but I took exception to the way YOU phrased the last part of that... Any poor unfortunate souls who read this blog surely know by now how I feel about there being better modes of expression...) (d) willingness to learn from failures (e) a results-driven consciousness and (f) integrity, of course. Everyone values integrity. Did you know, by the way, that 'integrity' comes from the Latin word 'integritas', meaning 'wholeness' or 'soundness'? If one has integrity, then one has a wholeness and soundness of heart that can be trusted.

Mr. Hargett then proceeded to seizing opportunities, which he warned us can be in many places under many guises, and it may be an unlikely player who points them out to us. They should be seized quickly, for they will not last forever. (It is a pity the Xerox commercial didn't work for him. I don't watch TV, so I had no idea what he was talking about. Of course, some commercials aren't worth watching, but the odd one can be funny... Does anyone remember the little-kid-dressed-up-as-Darth-Vader Volkswagen commercial?)

As for exceeding expectations, one should (a) manage the expectations of one's boss (b) adapt to changing circumstances and duties (c) communicate (d) clarify (e) anticipate and (f) have good performance reviews, which means one has kept one's boss happy. I suddenly find the word 'boss' immensely amusing. It doesn't help that I am thinking of video games or of the magazine put out by Dixon (a company that makes hydraulics, I think... I may be totally wrong on that, but they have a great magazine. I was the one standing waiting on the shuttle and reading it today. If you had looked over my shoulder, you would have seen articles about Bermuda, wine-making, and the Salem Witch Trials! The joys of randomness.).

Mr. Hargett also told us that Luck = Preparation + Opportunity. Recognize opportunity when it comes and, well, carpe diem. He finished off with Murphy's Law, and its Corollaries, making for: "If it can go wrong, it will. It can. It should. At the most inopportune time." So prepare for anything and everything, at the worst of times. Are we all now properly paranoid?

In Pace Christi,


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