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Time to future proof your career

It wasn’t that long ago that you needed a downtown office to do business. A bricks and mortar presence was essential. Corporates traded with other corporates and the little guy could hope for little more than the occasional crumb. Work was done in offices. Meetings (lots of them) took place in meeting rooms. Consultants, entrepreneurs and contractors worked in a parallel universe of not-so-flash offices, sad rented desks and coffee shops. Having a full time corporate role was the way to go - secure and well-paid with a clear career path, mapped out and provided by the organisation.

Everyone ‘works’ at the coffee shop!
Today and it’s a different scene. Everyone ‘works’ on the go! Many staff no longer have their own desk, but wander around each morning with their life in a box, looking for a place to call home. Others cut out the commute and ‘work from home’. Employees, self-employed, entrepreneurs - we all look the same. Tapping away over a cappuccino, conference calling on the bus or collaborating on the latest project or team scrum at the in-house ‘Break Out Hub’.

The shift to Agility
There’s good and bad in all of this. Some changes are based on fads that are sure to pass (hot-desking is a CFO’s efficiency dream that evaporates on first contact with real people). Mostly, they mark a response to the changing nature of work. There are big implications for the business, but even more for employees. If that’s you, it’s probably time to change your game big time.

Deloitte Global Human Capital’s excellent report, ‘Rewriting the rules for the digital age’, makes the case that ‘the way things work has changed’.

Old organisational structures are increasingly irrelevant. ‘How things work’ mean Managers and Leaders must now focus on creating successful collaborations around projects. These are likely to involve multiple and diverse stakeholders from both inside and outside an organisation. So much is fluid and evolving. As the report notes,

‘People are rewarded for their skills and abilities, not their position’

Time to take control of your career
If you work for a corporate, the days of just passing a job interview and then being promoted steadily over time are probably gone (except in the public sector, which resists such realities). If you want to get ahead in this new reality, you must actively shape your career.

The same report cites US research that shows how far and fast things are changing:

While 33% of companies promote vertical career moves, 67% now promote horizontal or project-based career progression

83% of companies expect to have an “open” or “highly flexible” career model within the next 3-5 years

31% of companies expect careers to be 3-5 years long

60% expect them to be 10 years or less

How should you respond
The writing is clearly on the wall. The boundaries between full time employee, project worker and consultant are blurring. To compete, businesses need to be agile. Part of this is the ability to scale and contract in response to the market, so flexibility of staffing is critical.

At the same time, with the trend to shorter periods of employment, organisations may be less inclined to carry the cost of training and development. Easier and cheaper to hire in what they need when they need it. Both trends have massive implications for employees.

Here are some ideas on what you need to change (particularly if you have only ever been an employee).

Understand that the game has changed
As I have sketched here, this is a significant and enduring shift. Don’t be fooled by low current unemployment stats. Multiple forces are at work (AI, robotisation, globalisation…..) that threaten the traditional employee role - and therefore your future success and happiness! Now is the time to take control and create the options that will position you on the right side of the shift.

Build your influence It’s essential to stand out. Check out Why Influence begins with Self-Leadership and Why Humanity is your Point of Difference and view my free online Building Your Influence Tutorial
You HAVE to add this capability. It amplifies everything else you do.

Think like an entrepreneur Fundamentally, we all now need to think like self-employed entrepreneurs. You need to treat your careers as your business and plan accordingly. Relying on an employer to look after you from cradle to grave is a shit strategy. Think Ostrich, Head, Sand!

Stay relevant
The Deloitte report also examines the speed at which knowledge is becoming outdated. You need to constantly be looking out for what’s NEXT in your world and making sure you are across the ‘hot’ skills. Do that, and you’ll be in pole position for the best projects and promotions.

Build a support network that is bigger than your company
A big part of the Influencer equation is investing time and energy in actively building a network that will support, promote and reward you. So look beyond immediate contacts to the broader market. Seek out experts who are promoters, financial experts, connectors, mentors, entrepreneurs. You will need these and more to help you move smoothly through the multiple reinventions that we will all need to make.

We are in the middle of a change every bit as profound as earlier ‘revolutions’. It’s a vibrant, exciting time, full of challenges, for sure, but also extraordinary opportunities. For those who can see what’s really going on and have the courage to adapt and have a crack - the future is amazing.


Mark Hodgson
Work with Mark
Since 2010 Mark Hodgson has been successfully helping executives, coaches and consultants to build confidence, gain clarity in their message and position themselves as influential thought leaders who people want to work with.

He is the author of Time To Shine - Adapting who you are and what you know to succeed in the ideas economy and a leading thinker and speaker on adapting our personal leadership to succeed in a volatile world. To book Mark as a speaker for your next event contact him here.

If you want to know more about working with Mark to activate this thinking in your world, check out the following options:

Time To Shine – Leader Workshop -> 1-day in-house programme for teams
Time To Shine – 60 or 90 Keynote speech ‘Why Humanity is our point of difference’
Time To Shine - Personal Mentoring Programme -> For organisational leaders, independent consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs.
Contact us on or call +61 425 230 335 for details.
Mark Hodgson

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