The Musketeer Approach

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'm not na?ve to corporate politics, competition, or sabotage in the workplace. I've held my own in corporations where silos, turf wars and power brokers delivered indigestion, sleepless nights, and distrusting cultures. But I still don't get it. When people are more focused on what's happening in the cube next to them than on achieving corporate goals, everyone loses. When corporate politics fill emails with mixed direction stalling productivity, everyone loses. And when discretionary effort and new ideas are swallowed in pits of bureaucracy, guess what? Everyone loses. The way I see it, if the company fails, we all fail.

So, I believe the Three Musketeers got it right: "All for one and one for all!" Each understood his fate as an individual was tied to their fate as a group. Trusting each other was unambiguous. One was in trouble, they all were in trouble. One needed help, they all provided help. One succeeded, they all succeeded. The fiction of Alexandre Dumas, set in the 17th century, seems a good prescription for the 21st century workplace.

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'd be today without the musketeer approach. My advice? Become a musketeer!

(c) 2004 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.

Sign up to receive Nan's free biweekly eColumn at www.winningatworking.com. Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a writer, columnist, small business owner, and online instructor. Contact Nan at info@nanrussell.com.

What is a Career Anyway?

A career is the sum total of all of your work-related contributions to society in... Read More

Assess Your Transferable Skills

One of the most important parts of a job search is assessing your Transferable... Read More

Great Interview Skills

Going for a job interview can be a harrowing experience. The reasons are varied: A... Read More

6 Steps to Re-inventing Your Career

Meaningful work honors the deepest part of your being. It is the embodiment of your... Read More

Job Search Campaign Tip: An Activity Diary

Looking for a job involves a wide range of responsibilities: preparing a resume, looking at... Read More

What Turns Potential Employers ON; What Turns Them OFF?

According to an annual survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, these... Read More

Dont Quit Your Day Job! Convincing Your Boss To Let You Telecommute, Part 1 of 2

Are you desperately trying to find a telecommute job so that you can quit your... Read More

Why Culinary Education

If you are thinking about a career in culinary arts then studying in a culinary... Read More

Risk-taking - Get Your Feet Wet!

We often use the phrase, "Get Your Feet Wet" when we are just beginning to... Read More

How To Get That Promotion

If you're looking for that promotion or pay rise then you'll need to be noticed... Read More

Why Become A Truck Driver?

There are a great number of good reasons for someone to become a truck driver.... Read More

Job Interviews: Answering Whats Your Greatest Weakness?

Many interview guides advise candidates to answer the common "What's your greatest weakness?" question with... Read More

CVs And Resumes Sometimes Just Get In The Way

As a head-hunter and Career Coach I see so many CVs and resumes that look... Read More

Job Interviews: Identifying & Using Your Most Important Asset

When you're looking to get hired or get promoted, what do you think is your... Read More

Master Responding to Selection Criteria and Win Your Next Job!

As a human resources specialist for many years, I've seen it all when it comes... Read More

Three Ways to Transition to a New Career

As a Certified Personnel Consultant working for Find Great People International in Greenville, South Carolina,... Read More

Get Paid to Shop And Keep Everything You Buy - Without Having to Pay!

Can You Tell Good Service From Bad; Recognise Value For Money; Compare Prices, Staff Efficiency,... Read More

Career Transitions : Fearless Flyers

You may have read one of my previous articles on career transitioning which described how... Read More

Job Search Techniques: Smashing The Gray Ceiling

For decades, women have chaffed at the invisible glass ceiling which prevents their moving into... Read More

Cover Letter Magic: 4 Ways To ASK For The Job Interview - And Get It!

Just how important it is to ASK for the job interview clearly and directly in... Read More

21st Century Career Success

When it comes to modern career development, one thing we can all count on is... Read More

Seminars: Why Are They Popular, and What Advantages/Disadvantages Are There to Attending One?

Seminars dealing with "special topics" have actually been around for decades, and are an older... Read More

How to Get the Job You Want in Any Economy... Act Like a Headhunter

Having spent the last few years of my career in the staffing and recruiting industry,... Read More

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Everyone dreams of a life full of love and adventure. But we fill ourselves with... Read More

Job Interviews -- The Real Reasons Why You Need to Follow Up

Effective follow-up after a job interview is often a key reason why someone gets a... Read More

How to Crash - Proof Your Job Search

Think you have the speed, endurance, and know-how to fix what's broken? Bet not. The... Read More

Have You Been Fired? Laid Off? No? You Will Be!

It's true. Things have changed. You need to know the 3 Keys to Taking Control... Read More

6 Vital Tips For Creating A Superior Resume

1: Keep It ShortConsidering that initially HR personnel only spend approximately 10-20 seconds on a... Read More

The Global Work Marketplace - The Revolution Of How Work Gets Done

Will cubicles be a distant memory for today's workforce? Will the expense of office space... Read More

Using Journal to Support Your Job Search

Are you searching for a job? Here are some tips on how you can use... Read More

Moving From A Weekend Hobby To Career In The Arts

Building a career as an artist takes hard work. Because the field attracts so many... Read More

How to Terminate an Employee and Live to Tell the Tale

1. Employee Backdrop in AustraliaThe whole arena of Industrial Relations and the interaction between employer... Read More

Writing a Must-Read Cover Letter

If you want to land an interview, you'll need more than a perfectly polished resume,... Read More

Finding Success In Todays Job Market

This year we are experiencing the most dynamic and rapidly changing economy in all of... Read More

Interview Preparation

The dreaded job interview is the Number 1 source of email enquiries to Confidence Club.... Read More

Independent RN Contractors Are Taking The Nursing Profession

Nurses wake up and take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity. Are you tired of having... Read More

10 Tips to Help You Ace the Interview and Get the Job

The interview is the "beauty contest" part of the job search process. Interviewers get to... Read More

Take This Job and...Re-staff It

Deciding to leave a job isn't easy. In fact, quitting a job requires courage, especially... Read More

Self Describing Skills - Key Strengths

You need to be the best you can at describing your best qualities; particularly your... Read More

How to Choose Your Ideal Career

They say that most people do complete and total career changes at least once often... Read More

Making Yourself More Relevant To The New Workplace

Being a current job seeker can be quite a challenging prospect as there are many... Read More

Job Trap; Relationships with Co-workers

Most of us interact with our co-workers on a daily basis, its what helps us... Read More

Job Search 101

The whole job search effort is completely exhausting and at times just plain pathetic. It... Read More

Get a Raise: How To Ask Your Boss For More Money

How many people do you know who think they deserve a pay rise, but are... Read More

Job Search: The End of the Line

There is an end to the job search tunnel!It has been a long, hard road:... Read More

Have Some PASTA with Your Interview

When cyclists prepare for a big race, they always make sure they load up on... Read More

One Cover Letter Secret You Cant Afford To Miss

Suppose you were the hiring manager, your desk piled high with cover letters and resumes... Read More

How To Get a Job Offer From Every Interview

About four years ago a friend told me one night that she had an interview... Read More

Protect Your Business by Performing a Background Check

The success of a business endeavor involves a concerted efforts of financing, strategic planning, product... Read More

Job Search -- One of the Secrets of a Trade Show

A trade show is a great place to network, look for a job, find a... Read More