Gordon Brown’s Downfall: 6 Career Lessons For Us All

Gordon Brown’s Downfall: 6 Career Lessons For Us All

in the UK this week, we’ve seen the Prime Minister Gordon Brown step down from office. After losing last week’s general election, he has been replaced by the first coalition government in the UK for over 30 years.

Just 18 months ago Brown was playing an impressive role in leading global efforts to manage the financial crisis. Yet when it came to the election, he failed to impress the public.

While there were many policy and political factors that led to his downfall, a key part of his defeat and his exit from politics was due to Gordon Brown himself – his style and approach.

Here are 6 career lessons you can learn from Brown’s election campaign and subsequent downfall:

1. You need both style AND substance

Throughout the election campaign, Brown kept reiterating: “if this campaign is about style over substance – then count me out. I’m a man of substance, not a PR or marketing man.”

Tough luck Gordon – like it or not, you’re in the marketing business. We all are. Brown, like many people, failed to actively manage his personal brand.

Modern politics demands that you have both style and substance. Yes, you need knowledge, talent and the ability to deliver results. But you also need to be able to engage with people, market yourself, sell yourself and your ideas. Something which has been a constant struggle for Brown during his premiership.

The very same applies in business and to your career. You can no longer say “oh I’ll just keep my head down, focus on doing a good job and let my results and resume do the talking.”

If that’s your approach then I wish you well – but I suspect you won’t reach your potential. Your personal brand and how you convey yourself to others plays a huge part in your success. Are you managing your brand or are you leaving it to chance?

2. Be Transparent

One of the key setbacks during the election campaign for Gordon Brown was the so called “Bigot-Gate” affair where Brown was caught referring to an elderly member of the public as a bigot in his car (…but forgetting that he was still wired up to a television microphone and so the whole country and world found out what he really thought of the person he had just spoken to on camera).

Yes, it was a huge PR blunder. But it wasn’t Gordon Brown’s lack of media or PR skills which got him into trouble, but his lack of transparency.

People forgive screw-ups and quirks, but rarely forget ‘falseness.’

How transparent are you? How much do people trust you and like doing business with you because you’re the same ‘on stage/on camera’ as you are off it?

3. Embrace New Media

The big news in the recent election campaign was the dramatic surge of the third party (Liberal Democrats) due to the performance of their leader Nick Clegg at the TV election debates. A relatively unknown leader 6 weeks ago, Clegg was the best performer in the TV debates and this resulted in a surprising surge in his popularity in a very short span of time.

And today Clegg has been appointed to become the Deputy Prime Minister in a coalition government – illustrating the speed with which a strong media profile can build a following and support.

Gordon Brown meanwhile was typically the weakest performer in the TV debates – something which directly impacted on his ratings. Regardless of the fact that he didn’t really enjoy them, performing well in media debates is part of a modern political campaign.

Whilst your own career is not played out on national television, an increasing part of your future career success will be influenced by the impact of all the new media platforms that have arrived. Blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more to come.

Like Brown, choose to ignore them and you’ll be in trouble. An unknown like Nick Clegg will quickly build brand presence and credibility in your niche or your organisation at your expense.

So learn to embrace them and learn to adapt to a changing world so that you’re far better placed to succeed and manage your destiny.

4. Remember: Attitude and Flexibility Trump Talent

Despite being defeated in last week’s election, there was still a small chance that Gordon Brown’s Labour Party could have been part of a new coalition government by securing a pact with the Liberal Democrats and Nick Clegg. Especially as politically and ideologically they are much closer than Nick Clegg and the Conservative leader (and now Prime Minister) David Cameron.

But if press reports are to be believed, Nick Clegg has always found Gordon Brown difficult to work with. Sometimes slightly patronising, a little aggressive, awkward – and generally just ‘difficult.’ So if press reports are correct, Brown’s inability to adapt his style went against him.

I see this in organisations all the time. People with less experience and less talent go much further than others simply because they are easier to work with. Flexible, open-minded people who are likeable will always seem more attractive than ‘difficult’ people.

How easy are you to work with? How easy is it to do business with you?

5. Be Authentic

Brown’s natural personality and style has never been outwardly gregarious and ’smiley’ like his predecessor Tony Blair. But during the election campaign, Brown suddenly began smiling in an attempt to be warmer and more accepted by people.

Or rather, he put on a ridiculous false smile (probably prompted by his PR team) which put people off him rather than warm to him. That’s because the big smile just wasn’t him. He wasn’t being himself – he was trying to be a version of Tony Blair.

Instead, he should have focused on being the best version of Gordon Brown instead of trying to be a second-rate version of Tony Blair. To succeed in securing the right roles and progressing in your career, you need to be the best version of yourself.

So walk, talk, dress and act in a way that is consistent to who you are whilst being relevant to your audience – not how you ‘think’ you should be presenting yourself. If your target audience can’t accept the best version of you – it’s time to find a new audience or do something different.

6. Avoid being a square peg in a round hole

Without trying to sound like a political pundit (or indeed make any political points), Gordon Brown was, in my opinion, always going to struggle to keep his post as Prime Minister in the long term. Not because he lacked experience or talent, but because he was a square peg in a round hole.

Modern politics (like professional sport in fact) requires leaders (and sports coaches) who are engaging, inspirational and media savvy. We may not like that fact that ’style’ is now as important as ’substance’ – but it’s a fact of life in today’s world – so get used to it.

In my opinion, Gordon Brown had all the skills and strengths to be a great ‘number 2′ to a leader (as he was to Tony Blair), but being the leader in the current era didn’t suit his natural style as he isn’t a ‘front man’.

The same happens in business all the time. We have a great number 2’s promoted to the number 1 role – but they often don’t live up to expectations because the needs of the role and business don’t match the skills and strengths of the new leader. It’s a classic mistake in sales teams too. Successful sales people get promoted into leadership roles but very often become poor leaders.

They’re square pegs in round holes because they pursued the ego-driven need to progress higher up the ladder instead of focusing on playing to their strengths.

How about you? Are you in a role which plays to your natural strengths and style or are you a square peg in a round hole?

Politically, I’ve not got any strong opinions either way about Gordon Brown. But as an individual he seemed like a talented, decent person, committed to working hard for his country – and so I wish him well for the future.

But as we all know, in the modern world, talent and a hard work don’t guarantee success.

To able to progress your career and stand out from the crowd, you need to be able to engage with diverse groups of people, be flexible, build a strong personal brand and convey your value proposition to a wide audience. Something which Brown failed to do consistently and which ultimately accelerated his downfall.

By Sital Ruparelia in Career Hub.com

5 Reasons Why Dreams Don’t Take Flight by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Most of us never see our dreams come true. Instead of soaring through the clouds, our dreams languish like a broken-down airplane confined to its hangar. Through life, I have come to identify five common reasons why dreams don’t take flight.

No. 1 We Have Been Discouraged from Dreaming by Others
We have to pilot our own dreams; we cannot entrust them to anyone else. People who aren’t following their own dreams resent us pursuing ours. Such people feel inadequate when we succeed, so they try to drag us down.

If we listen to external voices, then we allow our dreams to be hijacked. At some point, other people will place limitations on us by doubting our abilities. When surrounded by the turbulence of criticism, we have to grasp the controls tightly to keep from being knocked off course.

No. 2 We Are Hindered by Past Disappointments and Hurts
In the movie Top Gun, Tom Cruise plays Maverick, a young, talented and cocky aviator who dreams of being the premier pilot in the U.S. Navy. In the film’s opening scenes, Maverick showcases his flying ability, but also displays a knack for pushing the envelope with regards to safety. Midway through the movie, Maverick’s characteristic aggression spells disaster. His plane crashes, killing his best friend and co-pilot.

Although cleared of wrongdoing, the painful memory of the accident haunts Maverick. He quits taking risks and loses his edge. Struggling to regain his poise, he considers giving up on his dream. Although the incident nearly wrecks Maverick’s career, he eventually reaches within to find the strength to return to the sky.

Like Maverick, many of us live with the memory of failure embedded in our psyche. Perhaps a business we started went broke, or we were fired from a position of leadership. Disappointment is the gap that exists between expectation and reality, and all of us have encountered that gap. Failure is a necessary and natural part of life, but if we’re going to attain our dreams, then, like Maverick, we have to summon the courage to deal with past hurts.

No. 3 We Fall into the Habit of Settling for Average
Average is the norm for a reason. Being exceptional demands extra effort, sustained inspiration and uncommon discipline. When we attempt to give flight to our dreams, we have to overcome the weight of opposition. Like gravity, life’s circumstances constantly pull on our dreams, tugging us down to mediocrity.

Most of us don’t pay the price to overcome the opposition to our dreams. We may start out inspired, but through time, we fatigue. Although never intending to abandon our dreams, we begin to make concessions here and there. Through time, our lives become mundane, and our dreams slip away.

No. 4 We Lack the Confidence Needed to Pursue Our Dreams
Dreams are fragile. They will be buffeted by assaults from all sides. As such, they must be supplied with the extra strength of self-confidence.

In Amelia Earhart’s day, women were not supposed to fly airplanes. If she had lacked self-assurance, she never would have even attempted to be a pilot. Instead, Earhart confidently chased after her dream, and she was rewarded with both fulfillment and fame.

No. 5 We Lack the Imagination to Dream
For thousands of years, mankind traveled along the ground: by foot, by horse-and-buggy, by locomotive, and eventually by automobile. Thanks to the dreams of Orville and Wilbur Wright, we now hop across oceans in a matter of hours. The imaginative brothers overcame ridicule and doubt to pioneer human flight, and the world has never been the same.

Many of us play small because we do not allow ourselves to dream. We trap ourselves in reality and never dare to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. Imagination lifts us beyond average by giving us a vision of life that surpasses what we are experiencing currently. Dreams infuse our spirit with energy and spur us on to greatness.

Primera Estrella de la Tarde

 Hola les comparto este enlace y letra de una canción que por alguna razón me gusta mucho y disfruto escuchar la historia que narra sobre el Dios-Hombre prehispánico Quetzalcoatl

Primera Estrella de la Tarde
Autor: Fernando Delgadillo
las lunas se sumaban
los que miran las estrellas
hace tiempo se dejaron de contar

después vino el olvido
y en su seno tu nombre aéreo
y terreno se dejó de pronunciar

siguiendo tus pasos,
pensando en tu obra
y entonando la leyenda
vuelvo a trazar tu perfil,
reconozco tu mano tras de todo
repro sólo hallé silencio
cuando pregunté por ti

motrabas con tu cienca la paciencia
y cuando llegó la hora de irte todos se sintieron pesar,
te despediste de lo que te amaban
diciendo que no lloraran, que jurabas regresar

y aun prometes volver con la primera estrella
que eres tu al atardecer, desde la barca viva
de tu exilio, donde el mar y en donde nadie te vio regresar

la historia de tu pueblo se ha llenado
de dolorosa ignorancia
de tal ausencia de luz
que aquellos, de los bellos campos floridos,
como ves se han consumido
porque simpre faltas tú

la oscuridad se ha quedado
de entonces a la fecha
y ya es la hora que no fulge el nuevo sol
y yo sólo soy otro que ha perdido
en esta noche su camino
que le lleva a ser mejor

¿dónde fuiste a volar sabia serpiente
de preciosas plumas de quetzal?
¿dónde el conociemiento te ha llevado,
qué hay allá que no te ha permitido regresar?

que acabe aqui
que pacto con el tiempo
para el cansado viajero
que se ha detenido a oir
las obras de los hombres
y sus huesos son los únicos
vestigios de su breve devenir

bendice mi palabra y sea la tuya
y flote con hermosas plumas
que hacen es su ondulación,
el vuelo más ligero en estos tiempos,
estos tiempos de portentos,
para llevar tu canción

y prométeme volver
con la primera estrella
que eres tú al amanecer,
con el conocimiento
que un dia fue de ahí donde está
se parece el lucero quetzalcoatl.

Cuando un RH es un RH

Leia ayer el blog PunkrockHR de Laurie Ruettimann sobre las personas que estamos en el area de RH y de cuando seguir siendo o no considerado como un RH; dependiendo del tiempo que tenia desde que habia dejado de laborar en el area para dedicarse a escribir y dar conferencias.

Una persona que labora en RH y es un buen elemento se conoce porque sabe manejar las situaciones que ahi se presentan en algunos casos muy delicadas, tiene una ética especial y un interes por servir a los demas desde nuestra área ya sea reclutando, resolviendo dudas, dando entrenamiento/capacitación o llamando la atención a otro empleado todo es por el interés de que las cosas funcionen y funcionen como deberían de ser siguiendo los cánones escritos; es cierto que algunas veces hay que buscar la solución al problema y también hay que ser creativo en nuestra area.

Cuando dejas de ser un RH? no todos las personas que trabajan en el area son factibles a ser buenos elementos; algunos cayeron  aqui e hicieron sus carreras con excelentes resultados siendo excelentes profesionistas en RH. Otros no lo hace tan bien de esos he conocido varios y te das cuenta porque les gusta comentar las situaciones que vemos, parecen no entender la confidencialidad de nuestro trabajo o bien no tienen un interes real en ayudar al trabajador, me recuerdan mas a funcionarios burocratas de algunas dependencias de gobierno que solo esperan pasar el tiempo sin hacer realmente lo que deben de hacer y que los molesta el hecho de que se les pida la ayuda.

alguna vez conocí a un reclutador que casi regañaba a los candidatos o los cuestionaba sobre su situación personal mas allá de la información que se requiera; le gustaba sentirse en una situación de superioridad y poder solo por ser el quien hacia el filtro de la entrevistas; tuve la oportunidad de platicarlo con el y mejorar su «estilo» y fue ahí cuando me confirmo que solo estaba en RH de paso porque su área profesional era otra y pues no le interesaba hacer carrera en RH; entonces le hice una recomendación que uno de mis mejores amigos y maestros me enseño: «Vamos a ayudarle a hacer una decisión de vida y carrera profesional».

He seguido  la carrera de este compañero quien se desempeña con excelentes resultados en su área y ahora recuerda las cosas buenas que aprendió en RH…

El verdadero RH puede o no tener una formación profesional en el area lo mas importante es tener la actitud de servicio y todo el interes por ayudar y hacer un buen trabajo.

Pictures in your Resume?

Even that I have heard that including a Pic in your resume is not a good idea, most people do it, I do it; and you will find more than 80% of Linked-in users do it; at this point if you want to meet someone look at his Face book or Hi5 or whatever social network and you will find the face matching with the name.

Personally, when evaluating a candidate his/her pic has nothing to do with the skills or capabilities, the most important is what is written is accurate to his actual experience…

Recently another recruiter call me to show me a resume that included a pic, nothing new until this point, but the picture was from a actress Evangeline Lily «Freckles» from the Serie LOST; so I started to think about the reasons why someone will do that? if you are applying for a job as Senior or Manager?



When I get an idea on the reason will share it with you!. In the meanwhile I will interview «Freckles»! She might have some information about LOST next season.


Todos los que estamos en RH hemos sabido antes que suceda un despido, no importando la razón no es algo que me guste de mi trabajo…

La noticia te llega por medio de un correo un email…. el Ing. WYZ lo tenemos que liquidar; las razones pueden ser variadas un cambio organizacional, una nueva directriz, una falla al cumplimiento de las políticas…, algo. si la razón es válida o no; esa es otra historia.

Recuerdo alguna vez cuando trabajaba en un proyecto como Jefe de RH, que teníamos al Staff de Superintendentes en diferentes áreas, dentro del área Civil estaba un ingeniero que era un buen tipo, ya sabes, puntual, responsable, trabajador, hombre de familia y atento con todos, tenia años trabajando por proyectos y finalmente tenía el suficiente tiempo para comprar su casa propia, a partir de ahora se llamara el ingeniero «Cold». En su equipo había otros 2 ingenieros uno de ellos tristemente conocido como «El Tigre» porque asaltaba (robaba) cualquier alimento/bebida que estuviera en el refrigerador y otro «inge» mas, ninguno de los dos tenia demasiadas cosas buenas, nunca les conocí ninguna, pero de alguna manera se las arreglaban para decirle que si a su Jefe Japonés en todo lo que decía y hacia… algunas veces terribles errores civiles.

Como se pueden imaginar con dichos errores, el buen Ingeniero «Cold» en cada una de las juntas les recordaba que no estaban haciendo las cosas como se esperaba, ni como los principios de Quality Management lo requerían, por lo que se gano la antipatía del Jefe Nipón. el punto es que un día me llaman para decirme que un recorte es necesario en su área por cuestiones de volumen de proyectos (Cosa que era 100% cierta) y que tenían que dejar salir a uno de los tres; no fue sorpresa cuando me dicen: Leo San avísale al Ing. «Cold» esta quincena que es su ultimo día.

Pudiendo dejar ir a cualquiera de los otros dos tipos que ni siquiera eran tan buenos técnicamente, pero pues así es la cuestión, aun cuando les dije que recién había pedido su crédito para su casa, que necesitaba estar laborando los siguientes 3 meses por lo menos para que le dieran su casa… aun así se tomo la decisión. RH tenía que ejecutarla.

Así que se llega el día final, fatídico día 15 del mes, no hice su nomina normal sino todo el monto en cheques… qué difícil es tener que decirle a alguien quien planea, quien cuenta con el trabajo para el siguiente día, que hace planes para que sus hijos tomaran clases de ingles y de baile que tanto querían, que finalmente le iba a comprar su casa soñaba a su esposa, esa casa que a ella le gustaba, porque él se la pasa viajando por todo el país para poder mantener a su familia. A ese buen tipo que no se iba de borracho ni mujeriego; a el tenia que liquidar. Sucedió que en la mañana me llaman a mi celular, era Arao San para decirme que cancelara todo que debido a un retraso de proyecto el Ing. «Cold» tenía que quedarse otros 3 o 4 meses por lo menos ya que él era el más capacitado para terminar esos proyectos en ese tiempo.

De cualquier manera platique con el Ing. «Cold» le entregue el cheque de su quincena, le dije lo que estaba pasando e iba a suceder para que buscara nuevo proyecto, el como siempre agradeció mi honestidad.

Todo termino bien para él cuando llego el día, tenía un nuevo proyecto, casa nueva y yo no tuve que liquidar a quien no lo merecía a quien si pues sí.