INSTANT MBA: Stop Looking For Praise And Start Focusing On Results

John Donovan AT&T CTO

Photo: O’Reilly Media via Youtube

Today’s advice comes from AT&T chief technology officer John Donovan’s interview with’s Corner Office blog.“If you figure there’s a karma pool out there floating around for credits, you have to stop playing for credits. I remember the day I realised that, and that I probably never again needed to involve scorekeeping in anything that I did.”

It’s more important to work for results, instead of credit, especially when working on a team, Donovan said. He learned this lesson early on working as a partner at Deloitte, where he gained his colleagues’ appreciation for deflecting praise when everyone else was competing for credit.   

For Donovan, not chasing credit also means giving up some control if it means getting better results. Switching from a CEO position in Silicon Valley to AT&T where he had supervisors was a no-brainer.

“If there’s a situation where someone else needs to lead, and it’s working, that is A-O.K. I don’t feel a burning need to be in charge, and I don’t feel that it’s a bad thing to follow when the right things are getting done. So in some respects, I don’t have the innate drive that certain people have about control and ownership and leadership.”

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