Are market, technical or hard skills enough?Lately, I have been meeting more people whose job position are made irrelevant or obsolete.I have people from the digital marketing and HR recruitment approaching me for recommendation because they are out of job.In my mind, I was thinking “aren’t they supposed to be well-versed in selling themselves?”Though this seems like an irony, it gets me to rethink about our abilities to future-proof our careers.On a national level, there is a rise of initiatives on preparing the workforce with ‘hot’ tech skills in demand for the future market related to artificial intelligence, cyber security, the Internet of Things and immersive media.Although market or technical skills are essential as the job requires, let’s not forget that these skills can be widely accessible and acquired through diploma and degree courses and skills certification training by anyone determined to invest in themselves.
It would mean we are competing on similar grounds.This brings to question: “are hard skills really enough?”What can you do to differentiate yourself and not ended up as an easily replaceable commodity?Are you adapting to survive or evolving to thrive?In a report by World Economic Forum, here are the top ten skills to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.PhotoAs you can see, they are all soft skills.Again, even though there is a rising demand for technological skills for the future of jobs, firms like Google, Facebook and Amazon are looking beyond the hard skills when comes to hiring.https://www.fastcompany.
com/3061237/the-skills-it-takes-to-get-hired-at-google-facebook-amazon-and-moreDespite having the relevant soft and hard skills, most people still struggle to breakthrough the harsh reality of today’s career context, let alone the future.Perhaps, let use the Cynefin framework developed by David John Snowden as a reference for a case study of Apple.https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/cynefin-framework.htm.How did Apple managed to transform itself from an innovative but struggling PC maker to selling around 6 billion songs to 75 million customers by 2008, making a remarkable feat in the digital music market?This begun from those days when there was Napster, where other subscription based online music models started sprouting, like MusicNet and Pressplay.Steve Jobs then knew Apple isn’t just going to jump the bandwagon by starting another subscription model like their competitors.
In today’s context, this is what people would do in the domain of the simple – responding directly to what’s most obvious by simply adopting the success formula of others.If you are competing with your skillsets in this domain, you will be taken over by automation and artificial intelligence soon.Or someone could easily hire a much better skilled talent from an outsourcing virtual assistant pool from Philippines or India at a fraction of the cost.Neither is Apple trying to venture into the digital music space by having smarter tactics or by being more agile – faster, better features, bigger by allowing more songs than their counterparts or having more sophisticated devices.That is the domain of the complicated.Even though you adopting a better or smarter strategy, you are still playing at the same level as everyone else. Because you are still fighting and confronting the old.In today’s context, this is where a lot of people are stuck at, despite having the relevant skills (be it hard or soft) that are in demand.
As I learned from one of my friend’s career advice and expertise, there will always be someone who has more extensive knowledge, experience, better accomplishments and smarter than you.http://www.brandingthatmatters.com/supercharge-career-future-of-work/Instead of doing what the rest of the people would normally do, Jobs and the Apple team lead the business in an entirely new direction – building the new, not fighting the old.Like the domain of the complex and to a certain extent of the chaotic, there was no reference of a different model that work at that time.Yes, from assessing how the market responded, it was clear that users wanted all their music in one place. They wanted to own songs and be able to play on their portable devices, not rent.
In addition, they wanted songs, not album.However, even with the possibilities and opportunities, there are multiple factors that could make or break. Nothing can be fully understood when you are living in the reality of volitality, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.Despite that, Apple took a leap of faith that eventually led them to launch iPod (hardware) that people would pay a premium to store, own and organise large amount of digital music via iTunes store (software) without the restrictions of subscription and usage like their competitors. Not only that, they were the first to negotiate and reach an agreement with five record companies to sell thousands of songs from artists across five major labels at 99 cents each.
They found a way to legalize wide downloads without getting into copyright troubles with the authority the way Napster did.Learning from Apple, they don’t build a better mousetrap, they build an ecosystem! And the rest is history.As what Nassim Nicholas Taleb highlighted in his book Antifragile, we can grow ourselves and thrive upon disorders, randomness, volitality, chaos and disruptions. That is the nature of how our world is.Acknowledging that, there are two ways you can go about this.
You can either continue to adapt, be agile and survive in the domains from simple to complicated, which, considering what is happening today in our world, isn’t robust enough to bring us forward.Or you can evolve yourself in order to thrive in the domains of complex and chaotic by embracing and developing new breakthrough qualities.Though it look similar, these two operate at a vastly different level.If you want to future proof your career, master these 3 transferable skills.
If you want to future proof your career and thrive in the domains of complexity, it isn’t just a matter of having hard and soft skills. You got to master transferable skills!When I first looked through the list of transferable skillsets advocated by the experts, I was fascinated with terms like leadership, time management, critical thinking, adaptive learning, complex problem solving, creativity, listening, analytics and communication.At the same time, I was overwhelmed because there are so many versions of such.Perhaps like me, you are wondering what it really means, where to start and what is the underlying critical process behind.
After diving into Neuro-Linguistics programming several years ago, I started connecting the dots. I realized it all boils down to these 3 transferable abilities.Personal mastery or growthWhatever that is happening in your career starts with you. Everything begins with you, whether good or bad.Unfortunately, even till today, this is usually left to the individual to go and figure out themselves or to sort themselves out.No matter how private a person you are, when it comes to working in a career, everything about you shows – your personality, value, habits, emotions and thought patterns. And they will influence how far you can go. You can’t hide.
Whether you like it or not, you are constantly being evaluated and judged by your peers and superiors based on how you show up as a person. Usually, it is done without you knowing it!More importantly, your level of self development determines how you make decisions and respond in any given situation.Given these conditions as a human being, how do most people navigate their career?We rely so much on one domain for solution, that is, by thinking, rationalizing and analyzing our options.
Our culture tends to condition us to rule with our heads more than our whole being.And yet, we are stuck. We complain. We are unhappy, unfulfilled, confused and lost about what we should be doing.There are many people who could be doing the right thing like you and perform what is expected but never advance in their career.
What most of us don’t realize is that we are much more than our brains. We have feelings, body sensation and are creatures of habits, unique in our pace, energy, rhythm, character, intention, meaning and purpose.Recall those moments in your life when you can think better or in a creative flow after a gym workout, a Yoga session, after a walk or a swim. On the other hand, when you are under stress, you find yourself getting sick more often than usual (psychosomatic symptoms).
Just like everything else in life, when comes to your career growth, it is never a linear path. There isn’t a logical path to succeed, just like what Apple did.When you simply rely on your head, you don’t have a brand. You are just another logical commodity.To have a brand, it means stretching beyond your status quo.
It involves your WHOLE development as a person, not just live by your days in your job performing like an obedient robot doing what is expected. A machine might do better than you in that aspect!To build a brand in you, it means taking a position in something that matters, quite often involving you in making tough strategic decisions. It gets visceral.Personal growth and mastery is more than just a mentality or mindset. It is your way of living up to your brand as a human being.When you invest in yourself, you do not just excel as a worker, but thrive as an extraordinary human on all fronts!Here are some consideration for building your brand as a high value individual in your career.
– What makes you uniquely valuable and useful in your company? What capabilities, expertise, values, counterintuitive experiences do you have that are different from your peers?- What gaps or challenges in your field of work can you apply your expertise to help add value, which you are passionate about? What is your role and purpose with regards to serving in this area?- How is your capability driving innovation, impact and transformation in your career?To truly invest in yourself, examine those aspects of your life that is shaping your behaviour, sense experience and your well being.- How well are you sleeping?- What sort of people do you often mixed with?- What is your daily ritual and nutrition like?- What media, news, shows and activities do you engage with?- What are you learning or meaningfully engaged with everyday?- What is the quality of your relationship with people and the environment around you?Wherever you are in your career, you can always harness the best resourceful states of your body, energy and mind even without going to the gym or a Yoga session.I highly recommend you to speak with the friendly consultants to best experience it in person.Influential communicationKnowledge, experience and expertise do not mean anything if you can’t influence others to move with you.I’ve interacted with many subject matter experts whose impact and growth are limited because of this. They had a hard time influencing their audience to act.
Yes, you can be communicating, but to influence with your communication requires a different level of engagement.Some schools teach people on conversational techniques and tricks on how you can WIN and persuade others with your words.However, true influential communication is really about authentic influence with your PRESENCE.
It comes from your level of self mastery as a person without needing to act smart, look good, fake it or try to prove yourself to convey your message with impact.The ultimate aim is really to escalate TRUST at every point of interaction.What value can you add to this person each time you meet him or her?Here’s how you can influence anyone even if you think you are a nobody in front of that person.It is not about you.It is about demonstrating deep understanding about the other person.Here’s an approach you can adopt at your workplace or in professional networking.
Instead of concluding your opinion about others, stay curious and be open to learn from them like a novice without intruding their personal space. Even if you know this person for years, treat each meeting as a fresh new session of exploration and discovery. People do change. Let’s not assume how well you know about others even if you are an expert in body language or psychology!If you consistently adopt this practice for a month, you’ll notice a shift in your quality of relationship with others. People will naturally be drawn to your presence.And you might open up some opportunities from there.The power of coaching – Leading others to own their resultsThere is a lot of buzz around coaching these days.Personally, I realize it is not a title, a role or a position.
It is a way of life.It is one of the most powerful form of leadership essence in practice.In our modern culture driven by instant gratification, it is quite popular to TELL others what to do.You can find this culture almost everywhere. On social media, you find comments from netizens telling one another with their opinions.At home, we tell our loved ones how they should behave.
At work, we tell one another what should be done.Even in training or mentoring session, we are TOLD by the experts what needs to fall into place.Here’s the pitfall of telling others in order for them to follow your message.
They remain where they are.Even if they act, after a while, they revert back to their own ways. It is a passive aggressive behaviour.When you tell others to be better in certain ways, you are reinforcing their lack or past failure.If they follow what you tell them, indirectly, they are admitting their failure.That’s why people fight back by justifying themselves! Telling others create this resistance.
Moreover, it is easy and convenient to tell. When there is a plenty of such advice, it tends to be taken for granted.The approach of coaching is where you turn the tables around.
You are creating the conditions which others can come to their own answers. And no one is more right or wrong than the other!Because it is derived by themselves, they own their realization. They become accountable for their efforts.It is like someone who has an epiphany where he or she is self initiated and self-driven to change against all odds.And because they are empowered to arrive at the answers themselves, their creativity and understanding of the subject expands, hence deepening ownership of the results.
To future proof your career isn’t about becoming indispensable, but to pass it on. This is how you build a thriving team that can be scaled and expanded without you having to micro-manage or spoon-feed them.The worst scenario is where others can’t proceed or live without you. This means everyone is STUCK because you can’t be there all the time for them!As far as career advancement is in concern, this is what separates a true leader (it is not the title but the ability to leave a legacy) from the rest of the people.Coaching is an advanced skillset that is an integration of your personal mastery as well as your ability to influence others with your communication.Though it can’t be trained through books and even online programs, but with live practice and supervision, you can start developing a “coaching” attitude in your career.
That is, don’t just look for answers in obvious places.Whenever you feel the urge to jump to conclusion because it may seem obvious to you. PAUSE. Take in a few deep breaths and re-evaluate the situation in various perspectives.Is that all there is?Be inquisitive.
What if this is possible?Someone asked me this question before: “Can you really future-proof anything?”Seriously, no one knows what the future is going to be like.Nevertheless, you do not have to remain as a victim to circumstances.By raising your level of mastery each day, you may not be perfect. But at least, you will be robust enough to thrive even in unexpected conditions and difficult situations.With this, I hope you will find deep meaning, purpose and fulfillment in whatever you intend to embark on.