Support the Show. Get the NEW AudioBook!
Hey everyone. I’m trying something new based on your feedback. Stay turned to the end of the interview where I’ll give you some actionable insights that I learned from the interview. These insights are also in the show notes. As always, thanks for listening.
Now on to my guest today, Mark Herschberg, experienced CTO, MIT lecturer, and author of the book The Career Toolkit.
Mark graduated with an engineering degree from MIT and started working in startups. A mentor suggested he also do consulting work for corporations, and he soon realized he lacked some critical skills. He has made it his mission to teach these skills - which include networking, management, and leadership - as both a teacher and an author. His book, The Career Toolkit, offers some insight into what many colleges fail to teach.
One of the biggest challenges for an entrepreneur, as well as anyone looking to advance in their career, is learning the “soft” skills of networking, management, and leadership that enable them to move from a worker to a manager and then a leader. Mark describes what managers do as supporting others, of anticipating barriers and getting them out of the way, of fostering collaboration and negotiating. Moving from a contributor - one who goes to work at figuring out how to make the product or service solve a problem - to a manager means helping others find solutions, ensuring a good flow of communication, and helping people work together more effectively. While learning these skills requires a shift in mindset, anyone can acquire them.
Now let’s get better together.
You’ll probably want to check out Herschberg’s book and website, but here are some insights to start:
- Start shifting your mindset by learning more about the soft skills. If everyone improved in these areas just a little bit, the cumulative impact could be huge.
- If you’re looking to become a manager or are a manager, think of yourself as the person who supports the people doing the work. Herschberg sees the traditional pyramid as inverted, where the managers are the support, lifting up the contributors.
- The best way to learn these skills is through peer groups. Form a group to share experiences and brainstorm in order to get exposed to a wide range of possibilities. Since there is no one right answer to the types of problems managers encounter, the more you learn about others’ experiences, the better off you’ll be.