Monday, January 29, 2007

Continual Growth and Reinvention

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. - Alan Kay

Here's is a provocative thought: All of us should think that our current job may be obsoleted in the next 5-10 years.

Do I really know exactly what is going to happen? Of course not. If I did, I would make a fortune by betting on that future:-) However, I can see the macro trends that will likely happen. In the agricultural and industrial revolution, there were major shifts in which jobs were needed and which were not. And the information revolution changes are happening faster and to more areas than ever before.

My mindset is that my current job will likely be very different in the next 5 years. Even if I am able to do my job with excellence, that won't be enough. I will need to do something better, different or more impactful. I don't know exactly what yet, but I do know it will happen.

What can I do about it?

Perhaps the question is "What MUST I do about it?" If I assume that I must change, then here are some things I can do.

Continually grow. In How to Become CEO, Jeffrey Fox writes that growing involves adding new skills and knowledge to one's life every year. I would add, especially, in areas that may be of future importance to one's career. Better yet, grow mastery in those areas. Originally, I was going to write that the following growth areas are important: innovation, biotechnology, and scientific/complexity modeling. However, based on a conversation with my father-in-law, I now believe the three topics may too specific and propose that a broader growth area of focus should be critical thinking skills. Having critical thinking skills will be important to each of those three categories. In addition, having critical thinking skills will enable one to better change the direction of one's work.

Reinvent oneself early and often. In Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham writes that most people are predisposed to emphasize their strengths and that people will excel when using those strengths. The challenge, of course, is to ensure your strengths are used against the most important areas for your company. Too often, people continue to apply their strengths to areas that are no longer of priority.

I know a consultant who was an expert in six sigma when quality was the rage. He was an excellent facilitator who helped teams use that knowledge. However, today, "innovation" is the focus for most businesses. Rather than continue to focus on quality, he reinvented himself as an "innovation" facilitator and still has very good business.

Personally, continual growth and reinvention are two areas on which I have motivation to work. With the rapid changes in our economy and businesses, I believe continual growth and reinvention are my insurance against my career becoming extinct.

For more Strategies and Plans , check back every Monday for a new segment.

This is not financial or career advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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