“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more…” Erica Jong
Last week I made a presentation to the Western NY chapter of the Product Development Management Association (PDMA) on how Social Media is radically changing the world of product development. I have been working on the ideas for this presentation and getting to know people in the group for nearly a year. When the time came for me to make this presentation, I believed I had something valuable to share.
But some little part of me thought, uh oh. What if they disagree? What if the material isn’t interesting? These are just my thoughts and ideas; maybe I’m wrong. In other words, I knew I was taking a risk and suddenly the reality of the risk hit home. A few minutes later, I pushed these thoughts from my mind, knew that I was well prepared and then hoped for the best. You’ll be glad to know that everything went well.
In my mind, if I’m not taking a fair number of risks in my professional life, then I’m not learning and growing. The important thing is to take calculated risks; ones that I know from experience, have a fairly high probability of turning out in my favor. Years ago I heard this quote and decided that I would embrace the philosophy…”The best way to cope with change is to create it.”
And here’s another very interesting way to look at it… “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevancy even less.” General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army
It may be hard to believe but many Human Resource professionals are gearing up their recruiting efforts. While the economy isn’t exactly humming, the job market is heating up and companies are actively looking for ‘bench strength.’ In a 2010 survey titled, Job Seeker Nation, it was reported that we are rapidly becoming a nation of ‘free agents’ who are continuously alert for opportunities. And by the way, this is a good thing. Try this on for size…
I know keeping up our skills is hard and that trying to make sure we’re networking and connecting is a pain. But consider the alternative. “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less,” said General Eric Shinseki, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army. He wasn’t referring to the job market but, it does apply.
Each of us needs to be thinking about being a proactive career manager. Are you diligently building your network? Are you getting training? Are you actively discussing key aspects of change in your field? Do you read blogs that are relevant to your industry? Are you out of your comfort zone?
I want to be one of those people that companies are willing to fight to recruit. How about you?
I used to sit in an airport or restaurant and watch people (usually young) messing with their phones. I couldn’t imagine what they were doing! My device world consisted of a palm pilot and blackberry before I moved away from corporate America so what did I know about a smart phone? My sister would carry on about how much she loved her iPhone. Ok. Whatever. But she was right and now I understand.
If you have a smart phone and you already get this but please remember; there are a LOT of people who don’t. This means that you have an opportunity in your work to help your organization use these tools to keep ahead of your competition. If you are not a smart phone user, I suggest you take a few minutes and ask someone to show you what all the hoopla is about. Here’s one example…
I love word games, especially scrabble, so when I found out I could play it on my phone (called Words With Friends), I was intrigued. I started playing with ‘random opponents’, people the game would partner me with. I’d played a few games with an opponent and we started chatting within the game. It turns out he’s in Australia. I’m playing scrabble, on my phone with someone on the other side of the world. Think of the ramifications for business. Think of how this device is shrinking the world.
One hundred million people are playing mobile games and about $1 billion revenue was generated in 2010. If you’re not seeing the connection to your job or business, maybe you’re just not thinking broadly enough. The personal computer started at home and then went to the office. So it goes with mobile. It’s not about the game… it’s about access to the person’s attention… anytime, anyplace. Let me know what you think.
This week I had the privilege of helping someone who decided to change his life. Doesn’t matter the circumstances; what matters is that the person reached out and took help when it was offered. We all find ourselves in situations where we need to ask for help. Does my pride prevent me from getting help or do I accept graciously and humbly?
I hate asking for help. I hate the idea that I need help or that there’s anything in the world I can’t do all by myself. But the truth is that we all need a hand from time to time. So if you are struggling, ask for help. If you don’t get what you need from the first person you ask, try someone else. The lessons we learn when we’re vulnerable are exactly what make us approachable and able to help others. On the other hand, if things are going well for you; reach out to someone. Everyday, the world presents us with opportunities to help each other. It may be as simple as listening, a smile, a kind word or much more.
One last thing. When we let someone help us; we give them the chance to feel good about themselves. Think of it as a gift that goes both ways. Remember: we’re all in this together.