Stories of intrigue, treachery, politics, lies, double crosses, and power struggles fill the history books, much like they fill today's headlines. In the world of the 17th century musketeer, life depended on who you could trust. In the world of the 21st century employee, one's livelihood may.
I know it's worked for me. Arriving at a new job, I discovered the boss who hired me was away, and no one expecting me. I found no office, no desk, and no information. The person I was hired to replace was in my job, and had no idea I was replacing her. Each week got worse. Information and requests flowed like water through a clogged pipe. I was out of the loop on important issues and viewed like the enemy. Turning to my boss for guidance was like stepping into a sink hole, as I discovered his credibility and the department's lacking.
I realized if I was to survive, I had to find, win over, and/or develop a handful of people I could trust. It took a difficult year, but the payoff lasted an entire career. Gradually the group of trusted colleagues grew. We never thought of ourselves as musketeers, but by our actions, we became them. Unspoken rules of ethics and integrity prevailed. We looked beyond individual interests. We shared ideas, collaborated on projects, borrowed resources, and worked together easily and enthusiastically. We wanted the best for each other and the best for the company, each of us worrying about more than our own five acres.
Unspoken commitments prevailed. If I was in trouble or asked for help, help was given. I was called upon to step up and provide help too. We all knew our musketeer roles required reciprocity. The bottom line was that helping each other succeed, helped each of us succeed. I don't know where I'll be today without the musketeer approach. My advice? Become a musketeer!
(c)2004 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Nan Russell is a writer, columnist, small business owner and online instructor. She has spent over twenty years in management in a variety of leadership positions, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. Contact her at [email protected] or www.winningatwork.com and subscriber to her free biweekly eColumn.
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