By Joan Marques, MBA
Funny: the first two things that I checked when starting this article were the synonyms for powerful and influential, and, yes, they are on each other’ s list. But how could that be if we consider this story?
Mr. Dawson was the most powerful man at QRS, a company specialized in the
development of quality research systems. He had been the president of the
company for over 10 years. However, only a few of the top managers at QRS
had ever seen him. The program developers, sales-people in the stores, and
even the office managers had no clue what Mr. Dawson looked like. Some of
them even believed the rumor that Mr. Dawson did not really exist. But no
one really dared talking about it, because there were also whispers that
some employees, who had joked about Mr. Dawson’s vague state of being, had
been fired for undetermined reasons.
At the end of every year there was a season package for every employee ready
on a display in the conference room. This package was given on top of the
bonuses. However, the end-of-year celebrations, including the speeches and
bonus check handout ceremonies were executed by the respective managers.
Mr. Dawson was powerful, indeed. "He is a billionaire," was what some of the
people in the company said. And, although never seen, he seemed to have his
ears everywhere in the organization, which inhibited employees to speak up
freely about their ideas regarding this invisible man.
Samuel was one of the managers at QRS. He had worked at the company for 10
years, and never missed a day at work. At least, not without a very good
reason. Like that one time when his mother passed away unexpectedly. Or the
day that his wife gave birth to a stillborn child…
Everyone in the company liked Samuel, because he was open, caring, and
empathetic. He could always be found on the work floor, where he had a kind
word ready for everybody he met: not only his employees, but the ones that
were not directly linked to his department as well. Samuel was in fact more
of a mentor figure. People all through the organization would call him to
ask his advice on issues that oftentimes were very personal.
Samuel’s department was the one at QRS where everyone wanted to work. There
was a relaxed atmosphere in the office, and his staff seemed to have
developed a wonderful sub-culture. There was trust and openness, and the
Monday morning meetings were always held in a very pleasant ambiance.
Sometimes even outside in the open air! Every week someone took care of the
doughnuts that were literally inhaled during the sessions. There was a lot
of humor, and the entire spirit was one of creativity-encouragement. Ideas
were never discarded without team-contemplation, and his employees knew that
if they brought something up, Samuel would go to the limit to get their
point across. Now, he didn’t always succeed in getting all wishes granted,
but no one held that against him, because they knew he tried.
Samuel was influential. His advice was important to many people throughout
QRS. Not only professionally, but in private areas as well.
Then, five years ago, Samuel decided to start his own company in research
systems and other computer software services. He planned to start small, and
gave his notice according to the company rules. No one liked to see this
wonderful man go. More striking: many of the very best employees at QRS
started applying for jobs at Samuel’s new company.
Within 3 years the company had grown to a successful middle-sized
organization, where suppliers, customers, and employees were all happy and
content. The company could have been much larger, for there was enough
interest from all sides, not in the least customers. But Samuel wanted to
keep the family spirit in tact, and he realized that this would be harder if
the company grew out of proportion. His conviction was, that the
organization’s performance should not necessarily rest on moneymaking, but
on excellent performance from a happy workforce. The company’s core purpose
was, appropriately, “To accommodate America’s knowledge workforce by
providing the highest quality in products and service through team-work,
creativity, and trust.”
And QRS? That organization ultimately went out of business. After Samuel
left, several other managers decided to either start their own businesses as
well, or find a job in a work environment where it was much more fun. They
all remembered the quote Samuel had engraved in a little plaque on his
desk:” If you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life”- Lao
To all workers, QRS had served its purpose as a stepping-stone in their
career, but the lack of personal approach and the coercive atmosphere
ultimately drove the best workers away.
The powerful Mr. Dawson remained wealthy for the rest of his vague days,
although his power could be questioned on the long run, and the influential
Samuel is still going strong in the market of computer research software. So
much for synonyms…
Top 10 Traits of Highly Successful People -That You Can Learn!
These traits work together in combination, giving repeatedly successful people a huge advantage. Because they are insatiable learners, they can respond wisely to change.
They have good advisors, and a reserve of goodwill when things go bad.
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Begin today to employ these principles and they will contribute
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5 Characteristics of a Professional
You inspire others, both personally and professionally, through your
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people watch what you're doing as well as listening to what you're saying.