Thursday, July 17, 2008

Excelling at Critical Tasks - Critical for Career Success

Reaching Your Potential.
By: Kaplan, Robert S.,
Harvard Business Review,
Jul-Aug 2008, Vol. 86, Issue 7/8

Excelling at Critical Tasks

It's very difficult to succeed if you don't excel at the tasks that are central to your chosen enterprise. That sounds painfully simple, but many executives fail to identify the three or four most important activities that lead to success in their job or business.

One measure of character is the degree to which you put the interests of your company and colleagues ahead of your own. Excellent leaders are willing to do things for others without regard to what's in it for them. They coach and mentor. They have the mindset of an owner and figure out what they would do if they were the ultimate decision maker. They're willing to make a recommendation that would benefit the organization's overall performance, possibly to the detriment of their own unit. They have the courage to trust that they will eventually be rewarded, even if their actions may not be in their own short-term interest.


Robert S. Kaplan ( is the acting president and CEO of Harvard Management Company and a professor of management practice at Harvard Business School in Boston. He is also a former vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group.

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