Key Point: Most of us have become accustomed to looking at the expiration date on food. I don’t know about you, but if some item is on the shelf past its “best by date,” well I’m not buying it. And as insensitive as it sounds, you and I have “expiration dates” stamped on us too. If we don’t refresh, we will be discarded. Harsh but true.
Everyone would benefit from reading Karie Willyerd and Barbara Mistick’s, Stretch… How to Future Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace. As Chief People Officer of a major corporation, I still see and hear people waiting for career development, or that someone in “HR” or elsewhere is actually working on their careers. Why? Because, I don’t get it. Really, I don’t. Of course, organizations continue to invest tons of money into employee and career development opportunities. However, let me make this clear. As the CPO, I am not responsible for anyone’s career but my own. Yes, my team and I are responsible for developing tools and a system for career development, but a personal career plan is all on you and me. If we aren’t actively and urgently advancing our capabilities, we will be replaced. Our careers will be “managed” for us and we probably won’t like the outcome. If you’ve followed this blog for the last few years, you’ve heard this before. I feel so strongly about, it that when I run into material that might inspire you to act or give you practical advice, then I want share it. “Stretch,” based on vast amounts of research, is that kind of resource.
How prepared are you to refresh your expiration date and get ready for tomorrow? Based on the book, we should assess ourselves on the following:
- Functional Excellence: A set of honed skills in a discipline that involves depth that will be in demand and not easily replaced by automation.
- Emotional Intelligence: The ability to be compassionate, and empathetic while also being very self-aware. I also believe you should be conscious of your spiritual and positive quotients in connection with this. This includes the Character Triangle. Be accountable, respectful, and abundant!!
- Personal Advocacy: Do you have the ability to publicly support and promote yourself so others seek you out? Everyone sells. This is NOT narcissistic self-promotion, but instead it’s establishing a personal brand.
- Cross Cultural Dexterity: You and I will never be fully inclusive unless we genuinely are able to view the world in 360-degree swivels. Our world view is just one view. Be present. Be aware. This is not political correctness. Often people fall back on that cliché when others don’t see things the way we do or we’re intellectually lazy. Inclusion and collaboration skills are imperative.
- Geek Acumen: We have to be technologists. No more excuses. There is NO role that doesn’t require advanced digital fluency. This is not only because of the tool application, but because to be digitally fluent you have to be a fearless learner. There are few training manuals, and even fewer trainers. If you aren’t a technologist, you likely don’t have a growth mindset.
- Virtual Collaboration: Many roles involve working anywhere. Each of us has to know how to share knowledge, problem solve and communicate with people in different time zones and proximity. See number 5. (For example, in the last 24 months “sharing screens” has become a daily way of working on Skype).
- Entrepreneurial Spirit: This is not about owning a business, but the mindset of continuously seeking ways of creating more value. Entrepreneurs almost can’t stop thinking about how to make things better and having others recognize the value.
- Creative Problem Solving: Problem solving, creativity and innovation is a process and mindset. Like leadership, it is developed. What’s in your problem solving, innovating toolkit? If you can’t identify at least 10 tools (brainstorming is NOT one of them), you don’t get this.
- Leadership: Learn how to inspire people so that they seek out an opportunity to work with you, get results and develop others. It’s that simple, and that hard. You and I will never complete our leadership “course.” Note: This is where relationship development thrives. One has to embrace love in its fullest definition.
- Stretchpertise: This is the ability and resilience to be continuously adaptive. If you don’t like change, be prepared to be left behind or alone. Sorry, but that’s the way I see it.
- Energy Management: The authors don’t refer to this, but I think it’s vital. Personal energy is the most valuable currency. We run more on electricity than calories. People that advance and live life to the fullest have huge amounts of energy. It is a learned and practiced capability; all the stuff I write about mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, etc.
- Please don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by the above “list.” However, assess where you are on each area and develop one small step to advance where you need to strengthen. It’s not about perfection, ever. It’s about having the personal discipline and system thinking to progress on all fronts. Have the perspective, that continuous personal growth contributes mightily to our personal happiness.
Stretch in the Triangle,
One Millennial View: Sometimes my weeks just fly by. Monday to Friday melts together like a whirlwind of routine, and that’s how you shake your head and all of a sudden it’s April already. Lists like this are perfect for slowing down, taking time to use critical analysis, formulate different plans, reconstruct the mundane, and check your expiration date. Sheesh, maybe I’ve been in the fridge for too long.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis