One book I devoured when it came out was Alvin Tofler’s great work ‘Future Shock’.
A lot of his ‘prophecies’ have proved to be true, especially one that stands in pride of place on my shelf in the office. It says simply, “The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write; they are those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”.
You and your company have gone through volatility and challenge unprecedented in decades. The catchphrase for business has been ‘change or die’. These times have driven massive changes and they require you to learn new information, skills, talents and procedures….or die.
What have we seen, specifically, that have caused these opportunities and pain in equal measure?
Global expansion, resulting in goods being made readily available at lower than low price
Massive competition, driving many companies out of business
The rise and rise of social media, meaning business that don’t catch on are left to roam with the dinosaurs
Communication improvements, allowing us to discuss opportunities and challenges with people on the other side of the world at the touch of a button
A mass of available information at our fingertips, allowing us to make decisions in a fraction of the time it took even 20 years ago
So, the question now is ‘how smart are you?’ Are you getting smarter as time goes on?
The only way you can do this is by creating and developing learning opportunities for yourself. How is your plan going for personal and professional development? (You do have one, don’t you?).
Look, the only people who will come out of the global downturn with a bright future are those who decide that they want to develop their skills and become someone who is valuable to their customers. Leaving your development up to your company or someone else is tantamount to saying you don’t care about which direction you will go. That’s because no-one, I repeat, no-one is more interested in your future career than you. Your L&D department may put on loads of courses and give you opportunities to improve, but in the end it’s you who is responsible for what you do and how you develop.
Being smart means:
taking personal responsibility for your learning and development
seeing what mistakes you made and learning from them
planning your future career steps and writing them down
developing a business plan for your own future, not just the company’s
having mentors and coaches that influence you for the good of YOU
learning skills that will make you indispensable in the future
There are lots of ways of becoming smarter. You just have to decide how you’re going to do it and follow that path. Don’t leave it to someone else…build your own future life by being smarter than the rest.