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Start Me Up

Presents a study conducted by Michael Frese of the University of Giessen in Germany, on what will it take to succeed in the 21st century. His forecasts on how employees will work; Effect of downsizing on employees.

What will it take to succeed in the 21st century? Personal initiative and enterprise, says Michael Frese, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Giessen in Germany.

Instead of climbing the ladder of a single corporation, he predicts, employees will move from one free-floating project to the next: "When one project is over, they'll need to look for another, so the ability to self-start will become very important," he says.

What's more, workers won't be able to look to the boss for guidance. In the downsizing that accompanies today's megamergers, "layers of management are being eliminated, so employees need to be able to do things on their own," Frese observes.

In his studies of self-starters, Frese has discovered that they have certain things in common: they analyze their own performance, learn from their errors and thrive on stress. But they're human, too. Frese finds they do get distracted--but then are quickly able to get back down to work.