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kare anderson

On the upside, Bob points to the power of appointing ambassadors for a firm, becoming the "becoming" face of the firm is a self-fulfilling prophecy that can burnish the brand of the firm... and those who are given that role, living up to their best side more of the time


It is definitely true that our job can influence and change who we are, but that shouldn't have anything to do with admitting your mistakes and correcting them. The more senior and influential your position, the more important it is to be able to monitor yourself and admit when you have have taken a wrong turn. If find (as a project manager) that using online project management software (I use Clarizen) helps me to focus on what I am supposed to be doing, and helps me work out when I have gone off track. I have also learned not to take on any project management roles that I am uncomfortable with, since as you so rightly say, it does alter who you are. And I am happy with who I am.

Larry Ford

I can't resist. Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism, circa the 6th century B.C. "The way to do is to be." When we take on a role, voluntarily or not, the way to best fulfill that role is to become it. My, what we have learned in 2600 years. Happy Holidays, Bob.

p.s. There are some other quotes of his that you might like. "Anticipate the difficult by managing the easy." and "Great acts are made up of small deeds." and "He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still." It seems your belief #13 is spot on.

George Lehman

I understand that the context of our roles has a large impact on our attitudes and beliefs. I have a bit more trouble with the implied assumption that we can actually pick our roles, rather than having them foisted on us, and that as we do that we can anticipate the impact of that decision.
For example, when you (Bob) selected the role of fun and edgy management blogger did you have an accurate understanding of how this role would change you?
It seems to me that people like you who are willing to put themselves in the public eye are hugely impacted by public response to their work. I find it hard to imagine being able to accurately predict that impact.
By the way I love your blog. It is the only one I will let onto my Google home page.


As a former union leader and association president my attitudes did change when I because part of the management team. I always protected and supported my workers in a fair way; however, I found myself compromising my values to "suck up" to my boss, the owner of the company, by working a regular 60 hour or more week, not taking vacation time and loosing it yet making sure my direct reports took their time off, advocating for raises for my direct reports yet failing to do so for me (12 years without a raise and then had to fight for it with the CEO). On the other hand I developed higher expectations from my direct reports and tolerated their excuses less and less.


Great points.... in the medical academic world there is much debate about conflict of interest especially in the national organizations writing policy guidelines. I think a similar issue to the points you make here occur with respect to conflict of interest. Just getting a travel grant or small honorarium can have a big impact on a doctor's view of the pharmaceutical's product.


Excellent post in light of the mess at Penn State.

I definitely saw this in my own life as my attitudes about the unemployed and how they got to be so changed dramatically when I joined their ranks. It was, as they say, a real eye opener. It'll be interesting to me to see if I change my attitude once again if I ever am able to find a decent job, although I hope I will take with me what I've learned.

Maria Helm

Very interesting points. So, if you want to build bridges between workers and management, clearly temporary role swaps do not have lasting change. (Although they might help temporarily, or in small ways permanently if changes are influenced during those swaps.) So, is there some other way to incorporate those bridges into daily foster more understanding between workers and building in more feedback, influence, and transparency? Or, is the push/pull between the two groups inevitable, and possibly useful?


Great post Bob. You help provide me some evidence behind what I've done with my career. I was hired out of college to work in the pharmaceutical industry, always assuming I wanted to go into management. Eventually, as I got to understand what they did better, I didn't want to do it. I went back to school and, ironically, now run a website about leadership and teach management at university (while still having no desire to manage any part of my department).

A weird route, but it allows me to stay passionate about good bossess, without becoming a bad one.

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