Korn Ferry on being the 'flying fish' at work

How to be the ‘flying fish’ at work? Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry, has collected some useful advice on how to rise above the mainstream and achieve more than what is expected from you. An outstanding career sits on just a few essential building blocks.


Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry, shared his experience with the great big mass of people that compose 80 per cent of the work force but only accomplish 20 per cent. Being in this “stream” with everyone else means playing it safe, but never going beyond what’s expected, he wrote in a blog post on Korn Ferry’s website.

Burnison, a successful manager and businessman himself, described how people can rise above this mass and have outstanding careers: “You need to be committed to continuous self-improvement, with agility and adaptability,” he wrote, emphasizing how these contenders needed to be prepared to stand out and be the “flying fish” within the swarm in the stream.

His advice for achieving just this is:

  • Increase your relevancy. You can achieve this by asking yourself: Amid all this change, how can you be more relevant? When is the last time you felt truly challenged by your job? When did you learn something new? If you can’t answer these questions with precise answers, you need to consider just how relevant you are – and what you can do to change that.
  • Exceed your potential. This one sometimes takes a moment to process. How can people (and organisations) exceed their potential? The answer is with opportunities to stretch, expand, and grow, becoming more than they thought they could be. Be insatiably curious and engaged in the world. Never assume that you’re a know-it-all, which leads to a closed mind. You want to be a learn-it-all, with an open mind and a willingness to learn lessons everywhere.
  • Be the bright spot in the mosaic. Companies everywhere need to attract, develop, and align people who represent a mosaic of talents and abilities— diverse by every definition. Inclusive organisations embrace the multiplicity of differences as a competitive edge for understanding and serving global customers. .


Read more on kornferry.com