Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How Do You Take Advantage of Chaos?

With so much uncertainty and high unemployment, many of us are in a state of chaos. Because the media continues to report bad news, even those with stable jobs are affected by the uncertainty. Therefore, no one is immune. However, no one is stuck either.

On the one hand, it is easy to blame corporate America for this debacle. At the same time, it is important to do
self analysis to see how you may have contributed to any chaos you are experiencing.

When things are going well, it is easy to become complacent. If you look at companies like IBM, they became complacent in the 1980s. As a result, they went into a downward spiral. They were living off a past reputation of tremendous success. In fact, there were no great innovations that came out of IBM in the late 80s. By 1993, Lou Gerstner was brought in as CEO to turn them around.

IBM is an example of what each of us does at some point in our lives. We become complacent.

While the stock market was climbing in the early 2000s so was the real estate market. Life was good. Companies were expanding globally and there was money for everyone. During those good times, we forget to prepare for the future. When, in actuality, things are going well, that is the time for a company or individual to orchestrate a transformation.

With regard to IBM, Mr. Gerstner transformed IBM into a services company, from a hardware corporation. That required many people to develop new skills and competencies. In 2013, Gerstner’s strategy is still working.

For a person, booming economies are the time to develop new skills and competencies. If you are an accountant for example, that is the time to develop sales or management skills. Both are marketable, especially when combined with the technical skills of an accountant.

However, before you run out and start developing new skills, you should have a vision for yourself and a plan to get there. Without it, you are just reaching in the dark. Ask yourself questions like: what do I stand for? What kind of future would I like? How long would I like to perform in that capacity? Who do I want to be known as? With those kinds of questions, you will have a better idea as to what actions to take.

Next, you should never pursue your future alone. You should have at least one brainstorming partner or partners. That person should be someone with whom you brainstorm throughout your career progress. That person should be someone you respect and someone who will give you honest feedback. If you chase your dreams as the Lone Ranger, you will most likely expend more energy than is necessary and you will encounter many more blind spots. If this person is your significant other, that would be the best of all worlds.

To sum it all up, if you are the same person year after year doing the same exact job, you are fast becoming a dinosaur. Furthermore, you will never be prepared for the imminent change that is always lurking around the corner. Therefore, it is imperative that you start planning your transformation today. And be sure to find a brainstorming partner who can support you to think through the new future to which you are committed.

Good luck!  

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know. 


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