Darden Restaurants CEO Clarence Otis, Jr., inadvertently offers a version of Bunko Lesson One to the New York Times:

“One of the guys I worked for very early on said: ‘As you think about career, it’s not about planning it. Things are too dynamic; there’s too much going on; there are too many things that’ll pop up, good and bad. It’s not about planning and career planning; it’s about preparation and building skills. And if you do that, then you’ll recover from the mishaps, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the opportunities.’”

3 Responses to “Johnny Bunko at the Olive Garden”

  1. Allan Bacon says:

    Agree – and it’s a lot easier to stay focused on the journey when you are doing something that you can commit to. Earlier in my career, I was much more comfortable following a set path (college, grad school, the right jobs) and realized that there is a big price for the comfort of not having to think about what’s next: I forgot how to know when I was enjoying something while I did it and hit a point where I started to ask “Is this all there is?”

    I was talking to a 40-something friend this weekend who works for a big bank and he said that ironically, the current economic situation has made clear to him that he really doesn’t control where his career is going. He said it has lowered his stress significantly. He just focuses on doing good work – and doesn’t focus on his job. He says he knows he’ll deal with whatever comes when it happens.

    I hope that the silver lining of the current economy is that more people like my friend will start to think about what really matters to them.

    - Allan Bacon

  2. Bob Poole says:

    “It’s not about planning and career planning; it’s about preparation and building skills.”

    A good friend who by coincidence (or not) has a great position in banking, however, she said pretty much the exact same thing a year ago to me. Since then she has gotten extensive education in a totally unrelated field. Add that to 20 years of doing remarkable work and I think she’s set wherever she wants to go.

  3. Kira Campo says:

    I read this article entire article earlier today. I’m so intrigued by the intersection of the arts and business, and therefore loved the example Mr. Otis shared about how his experience in theater informed his management style and practices.

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