“I do not believe you can do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow.”
—Horatio Nelson Jackson, 20th Century American physician and automobile pioneer
The word “agile” is often used in the software development and project management arenas. Today’s quote points to the need for agile strategies for career development and advancement.
In their 2009 book, Agile Career Development, three IBM human resources innovators show how they support initiatives that benefit the individual as well as the organization.
Critical to this work is the need for adaptability, flexibility, and the ability to change in the marketplace to meet the needs of today’s clients and those in the future.
Regardless of whether you work for a multi-billion dollar enterprise, work for yourself, or are somewhere in between, how can you better take an agile approach to your own job and career development to remain in business tomorrow and for years to come?
“All the arts are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.”
—Mary Caroline Richards, 19th Century American Poet & Potter
Image from Flickr by pax-h2o
Do you live to work or work to live? Regardless of how you answer the question, it is clear that we spend a pretty high percentage of our lives engaged in our work.
How many different jobs have you had so far in your life? Many of my coaching clients have multi-page resumes, often including five, ten, or more positions. Quite often, one reason they hire me is to support a transition in their professional life.
They almost always simultaneously seek to live more artfully and include a high degree of focus and effort in their personal lives.
What artistic efforts are most appropriate at this point in your life? What would make it a more beautiful masterpiece?
“If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters—204, if you are in Japan.”
—Claire Cook, American Writer and Speaker
Image from kiameshaglobal.com
A friend and business colleague named Joel recently popped into my office to say hello. He, like many people I know, is a time-crunched business owner finding himself working too much in his business rather than taking it to a new level by working on his business.
He shared that he likes to have at least one new big idea to implement each year. This helps him keep things fresh, remain highly relevant in the marketplace, and provide even greater value to his clients.
How and where can you allocate 10-15% of your time to brainstorming new and better ways to run your business and live a better life? Imagine having 25—or 204—options from which to choose!
“Sometimes you gotta create what you want to be part of.”
-Geri Weitzman, PhD, California Psychologist
Doing work I love is one of the greatest joys I know. Who wouldn’t want to wake up each day – especially Mondays – to a vocation or career that utilizes their strengths and unique abilities? Who wouldn’t want a career that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of others and the world around them?
I was inspired by the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games to start my career as a coach. In that ten-day span, 5,000 athletes worked with about 2,000 coaches, producing gold medal performances. I thought I’d bring this idea to the business world to help people pursue even greater levels of performance in their professional and personal lives.
The challenge was that business coaching wasn’t considered a “profession” at that time. Still, the idea seemed to be such a great fit for me, and I had gained a great deal from studying the few people who were beginning to be known as coaches. I resigned from my 12-year career as a pharmaceutical industry sales and marketing professional, and created a coaching career for myself. That was 24 years ago – and the best career decision I ever made!
Where in either your personal or professional worlds do you need to create something for yourself so that you can be a part of it?
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and passion come together.”
Image from Flickr by Chris Parfitt
Watching young children at play is a joyful activity. If you happen to be a parent, the joy is magnified even more. The exuberance and passion these little ones show as they engage their world is truly a thing of beauty. Some would even say that play is their job.
Now take the average working man or woman – including yourself if you wish – and examine the level of passion and fulfillment they show as they head off to work on Monday morning. Few people would call their facial expressions “a thing of beauty.”
What happened between our time as little ones and our adult years?
How and in what ways can you regain the playful and passionate exuberance of your youth, to make your current career or career transition a reason to look forward to many more beautiful Mondays?
“Change before you have to.”
-Jack WelCh, retired chairman and CEO of General Electric
Click on the image to order from Amazon.com
The current U.S. unemployment rate is in the area of 5.5%. Given the numbers from the past 5 – 7 years, this is a vast improvement.
Despite the multiple thousands of available jobs, many organizations are experiencing tremendous difficulty finding qualified individuals for the positions they have open.
What might the unemployment rate be if every open position were filled? What would it take for people to be qualified for such careers?
Unfortunately, because people can be resistant or reluctant to change, many discover that their previous “valuable” skills are either less valuable, or considered irrelevant in the current business world. Technology, outsourcing, and off-shoring are three factors among many that contribute to the elimination of many positions that were once considered good jobs.
The classic little business book, Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, M.D., points to this all-too-frequent occurrence, which is now happening at unprecedented speed.
How can you embrace and proactively generate the needed changes in your skills and abilities to not only remain relevant, but to be uniquely qualified and highly desirable for the jobs of the future?
Where can and will you change and evolve in your personal life to keep up with and stay attuned to the world around you?
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
-Seth Godin, American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker
photo from addictedtosuccess.com
The point of today’s quote is the main reason I am a coach today. Over 23 years ago, when I was working in sales and marketing for a well-known pharmaceutical company, I realized my inner voice was saying things like:
- Thank God it’s Friday!
- I don’t want to wake up and go to work!
- When will this be over?
- I can’t wait to go on vacation!
- Oh, No! Monday is coming!
Of course, I’m being a bit dramatic. Still, as many as 70% of working professionals feel and say similar things to themselves and perhaps to others in their lives.
Should you see yourself or others in the thoughts above, find the courage to challenge yourself to redesign your life and career. You may find yourself looking forward to getting home from vacation, so you can get back to the exciting life you have designed.
Feel free to reach out to me if I can be of assistance. Write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“The employer generally gets the employees he deserves.”
– Walter Gilbey, British politician and entrepreneur
A common coaching session I have with individuals in career transition involves the attraction and retention of talent. Once people get beyond specific technical abilities, skill-sets and experience, we find ourselves shifting from objective decision-making to an emotional decision-making process.
“Will this person have the potential to contribute great value to the organization?” the interviewer thinks.
“Will I be happy, challenged, and rewarded fairly?” the candidate thinks.
The bottom line with both of these forms of thinking is that we are attracted to the future possibility of choosing each other.
If you are an employer, build a company that creates a better future for each employee, and you will get an even better company.
If you are a potential employee, show organizations the future they will get by choosing you to join them.