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Cookie Cutter Managers

Substance Over Style


She told me, "Everyone raved at our holiday cookie exchange at work about how cute my cookies were, but they were the worst I'd ever made. Almost tasted like sawdust. What does that say about my co-workers?" What it says is that some people are more focused on style than on substance.

Why Substance Matters

Why does that matter to smart manager like you? It matters because it shows you a clear way to get ahead in your career by passing over the cookie cutter managers. The managers who value style over substance may do well at first, but without substance their careers will dead end. You have to produce in order to succeed.

Style Elements of Success

These are things a manager can do to get ahead. They are good, but they are not enough by themselves.
  • Dress the part - you want to look better than the people below you.
  • Be visible - stand out in the crowd, but in a good way.
  • Get "face time" with your boss - find ways to be around him/her.
  • Communicate well - impress with how well you write and how well you speak.
  • Be confident - project an image of confidence in your own abilities, even if you don't always feel it.

Substance Elements of Success

Here are some things to focus on to add substance to what you do. These are the traits that will keep you moving ahead.
  • Deliver on your promises - always exceed expectations
  • Be an includer - bring others into the discussion AND the decision
  • Be consistent - dependable, but not rigid.
  • Do the math - make plans and schedules. Use technology to increase productivity.
  • Be a motivator - your success depends on your people exceeding their best. Give them the motivation to do so.
  • Be ethical - demand proper conduct from yourself and those around you.

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