Career Warfare David F. D'Alessandro McGraw-Hill US$21.95
On the cover of David D'Alessandro's latest contribution to the idea of branding, Career Warfare, an early Imperial Chinese soldier stands wearing a business suit with his arms crossed and a stern look on his face. It's not the suit that makes you nervous but, rather, the warrior's battle-hardened stare. In his follow-up to Brand Warfare, which addressed how corporations forge winning brands, D'Alessandro turns his attention to the winners and losers inside a corporation. Like a winning company, a winning employee must properly brand him or herself to get to the top.
D'Alessandro, by day the president of John Hancock Financial Services Group, notes that working hard, dressing appropriately and having proper manners is not enough to make it. Those characteristics will not single out an employee from the rest of the pack, which is the key to success. Those who set out on the right path to reach the corporate heights are those who know how to stand out in a company. According to the author, a company is just like a small town--it has its police, its main square, its gossip, its drunk, its competition and its neighborly quarrels.
Towns are living and breathing entities, and no one would mistake them for rational organizations that adhere to logic. The biggest mistake that an employee can make is to believe that his or her company would be logical. As a result, success in a given company does not come from good behavior alone but from grandstanding as well. If you want to be mayor, then you should stump in the main square of the town. Likewise, if you want to be a high-level executive, you should do the same inside the company and not settle with being another face in the crowd.
To that end, D'Alessandro offers recommendations to the aspiring executive on how to catapult oneself to the top. Such advice includes being honest and assuming responsibilities. Taking on more work, says D'Alessandro, will attract the attention of those at the top of the hierarchy. Accepting or even requesting a needed task that others refuse to take is the perfect step to getting noticed. Such a job will probably not be glamorous or appreciated at first, the author says, But timing is everything, and such proactive moves tend to grab the boss's attention and put the employee on the radar. Getting on the radar is crucial, D'Alessandro says, because employers think of their...