Silicon Valley Veteran Maynard Webb on Managing Your Own Career

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    In an interview with TechCrunch before Sunday’s Super Bowl, Maynard Webb illustrated how working for the Niners differs from most jobs:

    “In sports, it’s hard to get on the team and it’s hard to stay on the team, so it’s a true meritocracy. In business, we don’t look at talent in the same way. You can’t be mediocre and be on the team. Both business and talent need to raise the bar on themselves.”

    Webb, former COO at eBay, CEO of customer service technology firm LiveOps, and board member of Salesforce and Yahoo, was touting his just-released book “Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work in the Age of Entrepreneurship.”

    In the book, he advocates taking control of your destiny, though that doesn’t necessarily mean starting your own business. It means advancing your skills to stay atop the massive rate of change under way. Webb says the days of being rewarded for years of service rather than your contribution to the company are long gone. The book includes an exercise in writing out a 10-year plan for your life.

    It’s a similar theme to that proffered by HR consultant Peter Weddle, who previously wrote about “The iPhone Proposition”:

    “[Apple recognizes] that standing still is the single best way to fail in today’s economy. Their competitors are always raising the bar in terms of design and performance, so they must too. Similarly, consumers are forever raising their expectations about what they want and need from a cell phone, so Apple must oblige. In effect, those two inexorable forces mean that the only way Apple can survive and prosper is by working continuously at getting better. The same dynamic also now impacts all of us in the workforce.”

    Webb also offers a tidbit on what companies have to do to keep those focused on managing their own careers:

    “The best way to have your people be happy and satisfied is to earn the right to have them come back to work for you the next day, knowing that there are tons of other places. And what are you going to create an environment where they’re challenged, and inspired, and learning.”

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