7 November 2019
If the last decade has been crazy for you, just you wait. The coming decade could very possibly blow all our minds, at a scale we might not have anticipated.
This is not a blog about “how to save the world”, though I do believe that we, individually and collectively, are responsible for our actions and what we do has an effect out there. I myself have been ruminating about “what next” and “what it means” in today’s topography of our work and family lives, being impacted by local events, and the ones thousands of miles away.
We cannot anticipate the coming changes or the unintended consequences that these changes bring, but what we can do is position ourselves with skills, knowledge, and resources to take advantage of opportunities and to weather difficulty.
We always read articles about how companies rise/fall based on their ability to respond creatively. As a careerist, how creatively you are able to respond to businesses sets you apart from the rest of the herd so-to-speak. My husband sometimes tells a story about two campers being chased by a bear in a forest. As they are running, one says to the other, you know… we can’t possibly out-run the bear… The second man says, I don’t need too, all I need to do is out-run you!
By having a plan and taking a practical approach of only needing to out-run our competitors, we have a better chance to avoid “being caught” and of course, recognizing opportunities others would pass off as “not needed right now.” Below is just some food for thoughts, the things that I myself are chewing on (on an on-going basis):
- Which “dots” can you connect in order to create your own early “alarm” system? What can you do to get better at looking, thinking and acting ahead of the curve? Maybe one simple answer is, just like many things else in life, practice!
- Some suggestions to engage your practice exercise. Read widely, including the genres which are not usually your thing, and audit what you have learnt instead of just going through the motion and things get logged into autopilot. What is the big picture beyond the obvisou? What is really the underlying agenda? Are you noticing the subtleties? Can you sense the buzz of what is going on around you? What is your visceral feeling? Most often than not, we underestimate the power of turning inwards which is full of data points you have been collecting since day one!
- We have seen many failed businesses in the last decade, which affected many workers. Perhaps we could gain some insights by spending some time understanding them so avoid joining one of these companies in the future. “The further backwards you can look, the farther forward you can see.” – a quote from Churchill
- How about trying to “disrupting yourself”? Are you asking yourself tough questions? Yes, I know, it is a challenging one! Assume you were “attacking” you, what approach would you take? By breaking down the essence of your personal value propositions, you spot gifts and challenges. The ultimate question is how you are adding value to yourself and to your company
- Think like an economist. It is mostly always about allocation of resources. Well, I might be over-simplifying it, but I hope you get my gist. It would be very helpful and subsequently differentiate you if you used a little of your most valuable resource, i.e. time, to expand your range over the entire landscape of driving forces of change and mega-trends: workplace, demographic, social, regulatory, environmental, geopolitical and technological. Who knows, you could have a better first-mover advantage when you are able to make sense of things before anyone else does
- And of course, keep adding these learnings to the ever-expanding experience-base in your very own “hard drive”
- Dreaming and thinking big is still a good down-time activity with potential high return. Keep looking, keep revisiting and imagine different scenarios, and you might end up in a place you might not have thought of and be happy doing so!
I reckon that the biggest challenge is not about the future, but rather, how you see/hear/sense and digest the things around you, ie, your personal GPS. With a clear idea of where you are, you can then take the steps to remain relevant, and if all goes well, you will be ahead of YOUR game.