The Single Most Important Success Factor for any Career Development Programme: The Rules
The main source of frustration for many people, with regard to career development today, is essentially about the rules of the game — or, lack of them.
Consider this thought: If we all know the rules, and if the rules apply to everyone and are respected by everyone, then we all have a chance to progress in our chosen field. However, if there are no rules — or, perhaps, only half-baked rules, or a situation where some rules apply to one group but not all, or the rules are respected by some and not all — then it becomes apparent that the only people who can advance in their career are the ones whom management arbitrarily favours or who dismiss the rules.
The latter scenarios do not offer a healthy climate in which an individual can succeed, nor does it provide a solid foundation on which an employer can build and maintain a sustainable career development programme. Ultimately, the most important success factor for any such programme is assurance that not only do rules exist, but also a governance body is in place to monitor how and when the rules are applied or ignored.
The Real World: Rules Exist
An excellent example appears in the sports world, say, tennis. No matter how proficient a player may be, the same rules apply to all players and competitors. The difference between world number 1 tennis player and world number 1,000 has nothing to do with chance or fate, networking with the right people in the field, harming other players in some way to advance one’s interest, arbitrary decisions from a referee, or intimidation of other players. In tennis, as in all sports, rules exist, and they are applicable to every participant, regardless of the level of expertise and talent. Essentially, their talent is the distinguishing Factor. In order for their talent to flourish and express itself truly, we need an environment in which the rules are equivalent for everyone. After all, the concept of “equal opportunity” means fair competition.
Sports is just one arena that is useful as an example. Professionals, in fields such as accounting, must abide by very strict rules and procedures to avoid noncompliance with ethical and professional standards. In fact, in nearly…