Why it’s time for you to make a change if you want to get ahead

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 09:00
Why it’s time for you to make a change if you want to get ahead

There once was a time when all you needed to do to shoot up the ranks was stick around. Loyal service was rewarded with occasional pay rises, and on the job experience was more than enough for an eventual promotion. All you had to do was show up, do the work, and you were on the escalator to the top.

These days, however, a lot’s changed. You might feel like you’ve been a dedicated employee to your employer, only to be looked over whenever an opportunity to step up appears. Even if you decide to look for a new role, the world of work is evolving rapidly, which makes finding something to match your current skills increasingly difficult.

Between technological advances such as automation and new styles of performance management, it’s important to understand why you need to start making some changes to your skills and capabilities today, or risk being left behind.

1. You’re only as good as your last game

You might have accomplished some significant milestones with your current employer. A major client landed, a huge project completed, or a new system implemented could all be your handiwork. How long ago were they though? Are any of the leaders who initially congratulated you still there? What have you done lately? Does anyone really remember or care? Why should they?

Unfortunately, promotions and pay rises are given to people based on their potential future performance, not their past performance - you’ve already been paid for that. What are the additional skills, knowledge and expertise people can expect from you in the future? More importantly, have you identified the skills that will be the most valuable? Professor Toby Walsh from the CSIRO recently told The Australian “Computers are emotionally illiterate, so people with the most people-focused skills are going to be valued.”

2. It’s an agile world

Examples of disruption are now so commonplace, nearly every business should expect it’s their turn next. Famous examples such as Uber, Airbnb or Spotify, demonstrate that no industry is safe. According to Forbes, since 2000, 52 percent of companies in the Fortune 500 have either gone bankrupt, been acquired, or ceased to exist as a result of digital disruption. So how do you keep your business competitive in such an uncertain and volatile environment? You need to develop organisational agility, and the best way to do that is to hire and develop people with learning agility.

What you know about your organisation’s past is still valuable, but your real value is now increasingly tied to your ability to adopt new ways of thinking. Learning agility is about questioning potentially outdated processes, searching for new knowledge and skills, and being ready to take innovative risks. There’s a myth that these are intrinsic personality traits, but the good news is, anyone can develop learning agility by taking advantage of next-generation professional development programs.

3. Here today, gone tomorrow

Like many industries that are fast disappearing, so are many jobs. Just ask a blacksmith or a taxi driver. Your role might be more professional and specialised than that, but it doesn’t make it safe. Every day, organisations are making tough decisions about which roles to keep and which to shed. In fact, McKinsey have estimated that find that about 60 percent of all occupations have at least 30 percent of activities that are technically automatable, based on currently demonstrated technologies.

While you might be the most highly qualified person in your entire organisation for your particular role, what happens when that role no longer exists? In today’s uncertain employment market, you need to start developing yourself into a swiss army knife of transferable skills. For example, while you work in finance, can you start learning some HR functions? If you work in IT, can you start learning about project management? You could also be working in sales but learning some marketing skills. The point is, the business world of the future has no use for one trick ponies.

While some of this may seem like a slightly harsh reality check, these are the cold hard facts of today’s business world. The bright sunny facts, however, are that you have unlimited opportunities in front of you – if you start making some changes to the way you see your career and your professional development. Ultimately, it’s about being flexible, future-focused and ready to learn.

Don’t worry though, we’re here to help you make those changes. We’re the experts in helping to people to realise their true potential through cutting edge short courses and qualifications designed for the business world of the future. When it comes to providing practical and flexible professional development, our programs are based on real-world application so you can get immediate value from your learning. Get in touch with us today to find out which short course or qualification is the ideal fit for the change you need in your career.