By Krishan Deeljore
In Part 1 of this article, published last Friday, I described a system which can help CEOs and business owners adopt a strategic approach to managing the value of employee contributions by differentiating between jobs according to their value and cost impact. But for this system to work and bring results, a second element is essential; very much like it takes two hands clapping to make a noise. In this second part, we will talk about a second shift in past belief: How employees should rethink their potential and ensure they are future-ready.
Photo – menofvalue
It is common belief that employees are an organization’s most valuable asset. Well, not exactly. In more precise terms, the most valuable asset of a business is its engaged and motivated employees. It is a fact that the last several weeks have been mostly people-led and technology-supported. Amidst the prevailing uncertainty, it is safe to assume that the future will be even more digital and technologically driven than before the pandemic. What this means for employees is a radical shift in the way we choose and manage our careers.
Shift #2: Employees must rethink their potential and switch off the autopilot to ensure they are future-ready
Career growth and development are some of the top things people look for in jobs. Yet, lack of career opportunities is among the top two reasons why people leave their job. It is common belief that career management is the joint responsibility of both individuals and the organizations employing them. Yet, for most individuals a productive career conversation with the manager is either a box-filling exercise or just a fallacy.
Truth is most employees go through their entire professional life on ‘autopilot’ mode and rarely pause to rethink their potential. Whether we have a fulfilling career or not is considered to be a matter of luck or chance rather than choice. Why? In neuropsychological terms, our brain is prewired for routine, familiarity and simplicity. Although we do enjoy the odd dose of new experiences now and again, most of us will choose to stay in a comfort zone which is in fact a survival mode.
Probably the biggest gift of the pandemic has been that it has provided us with the opportunity to:
- Reflect on what is really important in our life
- Realise where we have shortcomings and misalignment
- Reset our priorities and goals
It is probably too soon for most people to realize this, but in a few years’ time, a significant number of people will likely end up in better careers and look back at 2020 as a defining moment in their professional life. You will not get a better opportunity to switch off the autopilot mode and switch on your career self-management mode. If you want to be effective and successful, then you have to start with an objective in mind.
10 powerful questions to ask yourself when defining your career goals
- What is my purpose?
- How do I define career success? What does career success look and feel like for me?
- What would my dream job/career be like if I had the power to make it any way I wanted?
- Am I achieving some level of success in my current job? If not, what must I change?
- What are my personal values? What drives me?
- Is my career the best fit for my interests and abilities?
- Do I have a gift or calling? How can I share this gift or best answer the call in a way that will fulfil me?
- What is the one activity I love most? Is it part of my career? If not, how can I make it part of my career?
- Where do I want to be in my career in 5 years? In 10 years? In 15 years?
- Why is this goal important?
Whether you are nervous about losing your job or you are thinking of an opportunistic career move over the next few weeks, you should be in control and in the driving seat when it comes to career decision. Question is: what are you doing to future-proof yourself?
We expect digital transformation to be an even bigger imperative for organizations to survive in the short-term future. Contrary to popular belief, digital transformation is less about technology and more about people. We talk about future skills such as software engineering and data science, yet the key is to find the people who can manage these engineers and scientists and get them to work as a team to outperform our competitors. The digital future of work represents almost limitless opportunities for unlearning, reskilling and upskilling ourselves.
“Everything in business can be copied except for Talent”
Organisations must change the way they measure and manage talent, and employees must start owning and consciously driving their careers to future-proof themselves for the digital transformation which is underway. In doing so, we depend on two of our most natural abilities – Adaptability and Curiosity. We have shown during this crisis that we can adapt and bounce back from adversity. We must now stay curious, so we always have options, even outside of a crisis.
Sources: ‘Digital transformation is about talent, not technology’ by Becky Frankiewicz and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, HBR May 2020
Krishan Deeljore is the Founder and Managing Director of BI Instruments Ltd, a boutique consulting and advisory firm providing bespoke services to clients in the Indian Ocean and East Africa region.
* Published in print edition on 26 May 2020