Our liquid world of work

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As the gig economy emerges more strongly we’re seeing low skilled work with startups like Uber, Airtasker, Deliveroo offer opportunities for the under employed, those seeking additional income and those who choose short term transactional income.

A recent article in the AFR warns of some of the social and financial down side of the gig economy and the likely impact on more traditional industries and long established work practices (read likely as eventual and inevitable on both counts).

Prof John Buchanan (in that same article) says that sometimes so called innovation is just about risk shifting. What does risk shifting look like? What specifically does that mean for employers and employees?

For the forseeable future, employers will want to create and maintain a strong competitive advantage – no news there. They’ll need high caliber people to achieve results – likewise, no surprises. But we do see change and disruption. There are new rules for how we work taking hold as organisations strive to improve their flexibility and financial performance (shedding fixed costs in property, labour and technology) in three key ways

1.    Activity based work – hot desking saves money. Real estate is expensive for any business. ABW also encourages a new way for employees to engage, collaborate and work with agility (see my next blog for more on this topic)

2.    Contractor and casual workers – shifting wages off the balance sheet helps organisations remain nimble

3.    Cloud based technology – means organisations can shift away from cumbersome, expensive enterprise software to SaaS contemporary technology for far less financial investment than was historically possible

So that’s the enterprise side of the equation sorted (for now), what about the employee side of the fence?

How do individuals stay up the curve in a world that could be more transactional than we care to contemplate? If more and more of us move to contemporary modes of employment – portfolio work, contract, casual gigs over permanent, full time roles, how do we achieve more certainty, control and choice? Bear in mind that gig workers, like most of us, still look for pride, enjoyment and adventure in their work so that won’t change.

Here are 3 simple things to kick off the conversation.

1.    Be prepared for your next gig – that doesn’t mean counting down minus days to a planned exit – it means right now. Ask yourself how you are increasingly creating value for your team, your leader, your organization and therefore yourself. The key to career progression is adding more and more value over time. Work out what that is and how you’ll do it.

2.    Grow your skills and keep relevant– plan the skills you’ll need next and start working on them now. Bear in mind, we’re probably not talking technical skills here as much as those skills which will give you flexibility and dexterity – collaboration, communication, problem solving, creative thinking. Build you digital literacy. Are you a digital native, immigrant, voyeur, hold out or just plain disengaged? Where ever to sit on the digital generation spectrum, unless you’re a native, act to shift the needle ever so slightly towards tomorrow.

3.    Keep listening and keep learning – share your successes, milestones and challenges with people you trust. They’ll be your cheer squad and support network as your working life morphs. Don’t under estimate how willing leaders are to support your enthusiasm and success, especially if you own the responsibility. Leaders just love people who want to be accountable and proactive about their own work and their future. After all, your success is theirs too. Make it a practice every day, reflect on what you did well, or would do differently next time.

What we’ve looked at here is really about the new frame for work and a new psychological contract of ownership. The tide is going out on our old ways of doing things. It’s a liquid world we’re moving towards.  Both employers and employees carry the responsibility to create success. We mutually have so much to gain (or lose) together. While nothing is perfect, remember what we’re aiming for in this world of uncertainty is more of the good stuff – risk morphing if you like – to certainty, control and choice. Small steps matter.

PlanDo is paving the way for our new fluid work of work. Find out more, visit PlanDo or contact us.

Of boards and chopping boards.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaagkaaaajdeyzdgwotmzltjmotatnda0zi05mjywltljogy2zdq4zwmynwThe call for more diverse work environments extends beyond the corporate world, acknowledging that many of us choose careers that take us nowhere near the board room. We call for diversity in the work place, we talk about inviting more women into tech and getting girls into STEM early, we regularly draw attention to imbalance on boards and at C level, so what seems wrong here?

Australian Gourmet Traveller released its 50th Anniversary issue recently, and fabulous it is too! I love food, love to eat it, cook it, share it, read about it. As I scour the fabulous food filled pages in this particular edition, we acknowledge Maggie Beer, Kate Reid, Stephanie Alexander, Christine Manfield, Alla Wolf-Tasker, Amy Chanta, Kylie Kwong as honourable mentions in the roll call of contributors to our wonderful food culture. I love my day job too, and I’m very interested in the future of our work so I’m led with anticipation to our future food destiny and I wonder when I read …

Meet Generation Next. Smart, passionate, bold, they’re forging their own paths and reshaping the Australian dining landscape. Here’s what the future of food looks like.

Sounds exciting huh! Enter Josh Lewis, Daniel Pepperell, Mat Lindsay, Daniel Puskas, David Moyle, Ben Devlin, Duncan Welgemoed, Aaron Turner. That’s it. Don’t misunderstand me, we love your work guys, but really Gourmet Traveller?  What’s gone wrong here? Welcome once again to unconscious bias, please tell me we are not bereft of amazing talent across the gender divide. This is not a challenge women can fix alone. It takes us all to call it. So, good men and women, we need to be vigilant, held to account. Let’s step up together.

Read more on the culinary career challenges women face in a recent AFR article.

From here on in, the world’s your oyster.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaagfaaaajdninznlmzm4ltg3ymutndjkmi1hmwfiltdjnte4mdcxnzyyoaThe PlanDo team recently attended the Global HR Technology Conference in Chicago along with several thousand other party goers.  At PlanDo, we’ve been tracking shifts in human capital for some time now. While in past years the Conference has presented trends in consumerising, mobile technology, innovation in talent acquisition, rewards and recognition and engagement, this year we witnessed a tectonic shift for HR practitioners, technology and the role it will play in the global workforce going forward. The themes were consistent – the pivotal shift in purpose and identity of HR itself, employee experience over straight up engagement and future of work.

Let’s look at how these 3 play out.

1.    New role of HR. Practitioners recognise the work of world is changing (before we’re presented with new work models and the science) and with it, so will our function. We were urged to consider ourselves as marketers, data scientists, coaches, and custodians of talent. Occasionally all of the above – whichever way we cut it, there’s a definite pivot opportunity. How it will play out particularly is less certain. In some ways we get to recreate our purpose and value.

2.    Engagement to employee experience. Identifying employees as consumers was the first step towards understanding the ‘customer experience’ matters to our people. It’s more than a measure of engagement – it’s about how every interaction plays out, and how we unlock the full potential and discretionary effort of every employee.

3.    Ditching performance management. Performance ‘events’ – recognizing that nobody enjoys the process or derives any benefit or value from it. Performance management has always had spurious productivity improvement claims. Constructive feedback and regular structured conversations drive better outcomes – avoiding surprises and acknowledging progress towards goals – checking in, getting the resources and support needed for success (read leader as facilitator)

4.    Changing models of work. This includes the demise of command and control, instead we’re looking to co-create success in agile work environments. It’s the death of paternalistic models and the rise of ‘leader as coach’. Think a whole new set of leadership skills – mentoring over managing, storytelling over directing, influencing over telling. We’ve been presenting some interesting facts on the topic too –

·     37% of the workplace are millennials – now the largest cohort, shifting to 50% by 2020

·     30% of all Fortune 500 employees are contractors – 50% by 2020

·     social networks matter when it comes to employee experience – go to trello, jira, Dropbox and slack to see where, what and how people work

As CEOs and leaders, we’re looking for technology that supports new organization design, that aligns self directing individuals within self organizing teams, with a clear line of sight to enterprise vision, mission, goals strategy and purpose. The long and the short of it, the world is up for grabs. Very little that’s held true, still holds – except of course performance and growth.

We came away from the Conference pretty excited about what we’re building at PlanDo – productivity and impact tools for the new work of world.

Effort equals reward.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaaj3aaaajdaxyza4mjbmltdhmzqtngzmos04yzmxlwqxn2e3mzu1ztflzqFear does not.

I recently started working out at the gym.  I figured I needed the mental and physical stamina for the remarkable journey that is start up, now progressed to early stage.  It takes tenacity and courage and frankly, a lot of hard work and a strong appetite for uncertainty. Not for the feint hearted!

We choose the themes of our challenges but at the end of the day, they are all the same.  In order to achieve what we’d like, we need to step up and start doing something different.  Life is full of uncertainty.  We know that for sure. Our No.1 enemy is fear, we wait until conditions are more favourable, more certain, until we see the next sign to take the next step.  It’s a trick and an illusion.  A mirage of the mind!  Your best friend is exactly what we want to get rid of –ambiguity – so get close and comfortable.  Whatever it is, just start! Today.

I listened to Jobs’ Stanford address again over the weekend, he says earn your success and make your own life journey.  Find your true north and just keep navigating towards it. Create for yourself a mindset that says its safe to succeed and safe to fail.  Then give yourself permission to do both.

Bottom line – turn up and do your best today!  Whatever it is, just start!

In a world aspiring to great leadership, begin at home – lead yourself.

It’s official! The new world of work has arrived

aaeaaqaaaaaaaazoaaaajge5njqzyjdjlwnmmtktngrimy05zdliltnmognin2q5mwiyzaWe’ve been talking about the new work of work! At PlanDo, we stopped referring to the future of work a while back because, quite frankly, it’s not the future – it’s here and now.  Proof categoric, if you needed it, is the announcements this week that three global giants, Deloitte, Accenture and NAB have ditched annual and bi-annual performance reviews in favour of regular, real time progress updates.  Microsoft, SEEK and PwC set to follow.  Time to get on board guys!

Image this … it’s early January, you’ve groaned through the recent festivities and decided, as your new year’s resolution (or annual performance goal setting activity), that you’d like to shed a few kilos this next year, so naturally, you set a target … ‘I’d like to lose 10kg by next Christmas’.  Great, I think I’ll weigh myself on Christmas Eve.  If you see the flaw in this cunning plan then you’re on to why annual/infrequent performance reviews are simply ridiculous.  In more academic and contemporary terms, we have entered the era of ‘the quantified self‘ … regular measurement/progress updates are the thing.  Think FitBit.  Think FitBit for your performance, even your career.  More dedicated to that topic in another blog shortly.

Since the world of work is moving fast; since we’re building agile organisations to respond to client needs, to create and sustain a competitive advantage, we want to match the pace internally. John Chambers, existing CEO at CISCO forewarned that roughly 40% of businesses that exist today will be off the map within a decade because they will fail to keep up with new ways of being.  Bleak but then again a great opportunity for innovative (and therefore risky) thinking. The big risk increasingly, is NOT to change or to delay it while fence sitting.

For individuals, our metabolic rates have changed. We want feedback fast, it’s essential for agility and learning (and our personal competitive advantage).  Millennials crave it, if not demand it!  … ‘Tell me how I’m going’, sound familiar? Many of us now perform multiple roles, or work on multiple projects, simultaneously – which could why professional services organisations are on to a new way of planning and doing.  We want and need to set goals and track our progress in great conversations, often. It’s a case of let me know now how I’m tracking so I can take short simple steps to success rather than re-engineer my existence sometime when it’s really too late to make change.  In start up world, we call it ‘fail fast’.

So, equipping your people with tools and technology that facilitate regular, concrete conversation works well from both sides of the fence.  For leaders, it’s timely information about where our people are going and how they’re tracking that’s now critical to mutual success.  As a leader in the new world of work, you are now more and more a coach – you’re role is to equip your people with the right tools, support them for success and get out of their way – ‘head in, hands out’ as Dan Burnam describes it. As coach, you want to know what’s happening in your team, how strengths are being applied in real time, what your people want to start, stop and continue; where they’re spending their time, what’s getting in the way and how satisfied your team is with their progress and collaboration – individually and collectively.  As leader/coaches, we want to become better at meaningful conversations. Do that well (or even better) and engagement and work satisfaction soars!

So,whether you’re a progressive, innovative thought leader or simply sitting on a burning platform, PlanDo has a just right solution for you.

At PlanDo, we’ve already built the platform which is your catalyst for stronger leadership and better real time performance conversations.  We’ve even extended the idea about who owns goals and progress – hint, it’s not the business.  If you, or a leader you know, could benefit by a platform to start regular, concrete conversations with your people today, that sits alongside, not disrupts your existing systems, then contact us. We’re ready and waiting to start building your tomorrow, today.

See what DeloitteAccenture and NAB have to say about performance in the new world.

The facts about performance and engagement

aaeaaqaaaaaaaakjaaaajdzjyzzmymzjltcyntmtngmzoc05ztdlltixzta3ntrkndiwngWe all know by now, annual performance reviews and engagement surveys don’t work. They don’t improve our results, or for that matter the satisfaction of our employees. So what does?

Let’s quit mucking around and look at the science. There’s plenty of evidence that shows what does work, but let’s be honest, many leaders and business owners don’t want to hear it.

The world is changing and that can be scary. The people we have working with us are very different from those we might have started our working life or business with. (See my earlier post … Talking ’bout our next generation).

Also, before we get into the topic, let’s acknowledge there are many solution providers our there who are very keen to offer you great (and expensive) talent and engagement solutions. The human capital market is valued at upwards of USD15B  globally with rapid double digit growth.  At the end of the day most performance tools and engagement surveys are a like your fuel gauge or medical lab report. They tell you the problem but don’t actually fix it for you. As leaders bringing about change, something gets lost in translation when it comes to making it happen.

Yet the evidence for better performance and engagement is within our grasp and costs nothing except a short read, a call to action and conscious choices to do things a little differently everyday. The solution is far simpler than you may think, but like all things worthwhile it takes some effort. Think back to when you might have lost weight, got fit, gave up smoking. All requires a little focus, commitment, support from those near and dear, and the right tools that will enable your success.

So let’s start with the Top 3 facts. There are lots of others out there if we go look for them.

  1. Individuals who set their own goals with their leaders are 17x more likely to be engaged
  2. Regular conversations about performance boost outcomes – a minimum of 4 conversations increases success by 4x
  3. Matching development to personal career goals increases engagement by 35%

What common theme underlies all these important data points?  Answer – Intrinsic motivation.

Daniel Pink writes about it in DRIVE. It’s about our internal drive towards our goals, striving and thriving through applying and directing our energy. It spells sustainable success because it’s fuelled from within. Ed Deci and Rich Ryan developed the concept of self determination in the 90’s. It’s the most cited model in social psychology and it works!

So, what do you need to do to ensure your people are self determining or intrinsically motivated? Hand control for goal setting, contribution, progress updates and development to the people who are most interested in career progression. The individuals themselves.  Your workplace can be the cradle that nurtures performance, engagement and growth, not the graveyard of unmet expectations and lost opportunities.

Lastly, here’s some further evidence. Higher levels of employee engagement mean 22% profitability, 21% high productivity and 65% lower turnover. What’s not to love?

Your take out is simple – start getting your people to own and connect with their role and purpose at work, let them build their achievement goals and then be accountable for them, to empower them own their individual development plans, give them regular opportunities to share their progress and successes. Then enjoy the knowledge that not only are your teams performing better and staying longer, but you’ve become a better leader in the process.

To find out more about all the tools you need to effortlessly enable your people to own their own success, visit PlanDo.

Anne Moore is the Founder & CEO of PlanDo, a game changing DIY career management platform that equips you to achieve, grow and contribute everyday.

Talking ’bout our next generation

aaeaaqaaaaaaaajmaaaajdu0zjyxoge5lwvmngytndy4ms05nmfllte3zmuwogzhymfmmaThis week CEDA will profile Malcolm Turnbull talking about the FOW.  There are several angles to take on the topic.  In this blog we focus on one – millennials and generational dynamics in shaping our future.

Generation gaps are not a new topic. For a while now we’ve been pondering whether generations differ so much or whether life stages drive behaviour and attitude. You could be forgiven for thinking that a 25 year old tends to display similar traits across generations.

Things have changed though.  Because humans are remarkably adaptable and resilient creatures, we’ve responded to our changing environments. As Karl Marx’ asserted – technology drives the shape of social interaction.

Accelerating technological growth has been remarkable and with it, we’ve seen significant social change. We know that change is no longer a constant. Here, we’re interested in the generational impacts on our world of work because it’s important to recalibrate from time to time, especially as things shift rapidly.  Here’s an opportunity for us all to consider and reconsider how we engage with our newest workplace colleagues.

Two thirds of a generation in.[1] Two thirds of a generation out.

This year, millennials were the largest cohort in the workplace at 35%, followed by Gen Y and baby boomers at an equal 31%.

Baby boomers are leaving the workforce. One third have already gone.

And one third of millennials that will enter the work force are already here.

We’ve been courting the notion that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be born after 1985 – relatively comforting and a way off. The idea of crossing that bridge when you get to it is false relief. You are on the bridge, right now!

Mobile technology changes everything.  And it’s pervasive.  In the US, across generations, individuals spend an average of 5.6 hours each day on the internet – 52% of the time, on smart phones, 41% on desktops, and the remaining 7%, on other devices. We could argue Jobs let the genie out of the bottle when he delivered the iPhone to the world in 2007.

Yes, that’s right, it was 2007. The product featured a big touch screen and unmodified full featured internet websites. [2]

What does all this tell us about a generation or the generations to come?

Following in millennials’ footsteps, we have the first generation, the ‘Z’s who have never experienced the pre-internet world. And yes, while we’re at it, the Generation α – born after 2010, already digitally exposed and literate.

Don’t laugh – 12-24 year olds are internet trendsetters! In this cohort, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat are a way of life, with other mobile platforms gaining more and more traction.

Yet, it could be argued that a time line does not define generational divides.

Take this perspective for a moment. There are, according to Ray Wang at Insider Associates, five digital generations in the workplace[3].

This could be of more practical significance to collaboration, capability, engagement and productivity than dates of birth.

What and who are the digital generations?

  • Digital natives – grown up with the internet
  • Digital immigrants – crossed the chasm, forced into digital engagement
  • Digital voyeurs – those who watch and see the value but don’t participate
  • Digital hold outs – those who resist or ignore the impact
  • Digital disengaged – people who give up, dismissed

I’ve heard leaders boast that they are mastering ‘cc’ with their emails. Really? Is that meant to be amusing or terrifying?

Take the observation of an acquaintance that recently attended a conference on the role of social media in public health. At 25 she was distressed at the amount of time dedicated to describing the elements, features and benefits of social media over the hard line debate of policy and real issues.

To her mind, it was a waste of time and a flagrant incompetence on the part of the great digital unwashed who found it necessary to do their learning on her watch. It was an opportunity lost.

She has a point. There comes a time when digital competence is a hygiene factor. That time is now.

How can we take our lead from adept and technologically adroit millennials?

Some progressive individuals and organisations are adopting millennial mentors to coach digital immigrants and others through the disorienting technology landscape. The goal – to create new behaviours that work seamlessly with new tools.

As far as behaviours go, this next set of data may seem curious or even confounding. Millennials agreement on these statements as follows[4].

  • My smartphone never leaves my side – 87%
  • When I wake, the first thing I do is check my phone – 80%
  • I spend more than 2 hours everyday on my phone – 70%
  • In the next five years, I believe everything will be done on mobile devices – 60%

Millennials are consumers – at work and at play.

The workplace is now a talent marketplace where consumers shop around for variety, flexibility and reward. As leaders and business owners, we need to keep up.

It’s not just people who’ve changed. The world of work has too. Since we are now an urbanised planet, jobs have changed too.

Work structures are flatter as enterprise responds to economic imperatives and the squeeze of social and technological change. Flatter organization structures, and the removal of the middle management ‘permafrost’ mean career paths are less predictable or certain. The psychological contract for work has changed and as a result there’s less trust, more cynicism.

Millennials are wary of command and control environments where in the past, we’ve slave-ishly followed direction. They are better educated, have more resources and more options.

‘The war for talent is over and talent won’

This mantra affords more choice to individuals than ever before. The shift to consumer, from a technology perspective sits in parallel with the social change that we’ll call the rise of the individual.

We, the consumer/individual/employee will stay in roles only as long as it suits us. No longer.  Leaders, keep up!

To quote a colleague, ‘The world of work now is more about ‘serial monogamy’ than a life long commitment’.

This translates into just here for a good time, not a long time, put more soberly – it will work for us both as long as it’s good, beyond that, we are each on notice.

It’s an adult conversation. To be fair to the consumer side of this equation, enterprise has laid itself open by what is often perceived as ruthless and somewhat relentless organization ‘right sizing’.

So, what do millennials value?

At pole position, it’s development and in second place, flexibility[5]. No surprises here.

It behooves us as leaders, to hold important conversations regularly at an individual level to discover motivators and drivers, setting aside the generational stereotypes.

On development. Find ways to move from learning interventions to learning integration. The Return on Investment could just as easily be the Return on Integration. As we equip individuals to transfer formal skills development and knowledge to what they do everyday we also want to give them a frame for daily growth and career progress.

On flexibility. Find what floats their boat. Millennials want choice and balance. Forget the notion of work life balance – it’s life balance and work is a subset. More of us want to avail ourselves of opportunities to work from home, to ‘freelance’. 20% of millennials identify as ‘night owls’, many are ‘Night Founders’, working in paid jobs by day and slipping over the fence into start up founder mode, developing their other business interests on the side or working on other supplementary work projects that are completely distinct from their day jobs. More and more Australians are engaged in ‘side bar’ business interests, often involving app development and on line products and services.

On technology. 34% of millennials prefer to collaborate on line and 45% use personal smartphones for work purposes – it’s a BYOA/BYOD world! (think Skype, Linked In, Evernote, Drop Box). A revealing 41% are prepared to invest their own money in tools they can use at work that will increase their productivity, effectiveness and competitive edge. Give or take, this represents roughly twice the appetite of their older colleagues are prepared to invest to the same end.

Just when you thought you knew! What really matters to millennials, compared with their managers? It ranks like this –

  • Meaningful work (30%) – is almost three times more important to millennials than to their managers
  • Higher pay matters to managers almost twice as much as their millennial team members
  • A sense of accomplishment is more than twice as important at 24% to millennials
  • Managers and millennials are alike when it comes to challenging work, which ranks at 10%
  • High levels of self expression matter more to managers, at a ratio of 9:6% and lastly
  • High levels of responsibility are 4 times more important to managers – rated at 12%

Perceived differences seem to land with a millennial cohort being described by their managers as more narcissistic, open to change, creative, money driven, adaptable, entrepreneurial than their Gen X counterparts. Optimism rates equally.

The Survey conducted by Updesk, concluded that millennials were perceived as less confident, and less team oriented than Gen X. [6]

So practically, how do we play to the new and emerging workforce?

  1. Tap into discretionary effort. Listen out for what motivates your people. Start a dialogue to find out more. Have conversations.
  2. Find common purpose and meaning. Align your effort, your goals and contribution.
  3. Provide tools and resources. This means investing in time and technology that your people will enjoy using.
  4. Build trust.   This means giving your people permission to explore, make mistakes and grow their skills and experience, everyday. Development opportunities will create real traction.
  5. Get out of their way. The role of a contemporary leader is to provide the resources and environment necessary for success. This means you clear the deck for take off. Remove any resistance and obstacles to success including systems and processes that don’t work well.
  6. Watch your language. A final note on the resonance of our words. Millennials don’t want to be ‘managed’ so reserve your management for projects, not people. Lead, instead. In the new agile world of work, leadership is a mindset and you want everyone to have it. Moreover, you don’t have ‘staff’. Unless you’re in the military, you have employees. You want to collaborate for success, not direct, because your world is moving too fast to entertain any other options. Do this adult to adult. For better engagement, drop the hierarchies and silo-ed structures.
  7. Empower your people, whatever generation, to be self sufficient and self directed, remembering that autonomy is correlated to intention to stay.[7] Not only will your millennials be more engaged and more productive but business will thrive too.
  8. Remember your commitment to diversity. That includes age diversity. Sometimes, millennials get a bad wrap. Those droll stereotypes we hear about millennials lacking commitment or exaggerated ambition warrant a serious rethink. Here’s a perspective – consider that we, Gen Y’s and baby boomers have successfully mentored and supported a new generation who’s keen to make their mark and step up to the responsibility of leadership.  They want to be proactive in shaping our new world. That’s very exciting. It can only be a good thing.  Give them space to explore, spread their wings and learn to soar.
  9. Revisit and refresh your own personal goals.  If millennials are encroaching on your own goals and leadership floorspace, make some room and set some new goals for yourself.  In other words, pass the baton to keep playing and stay in the race.

If you like this blog, share it with your friends, colleagues and network.

Anne Moore is Founder and CEO at PlanDo, a DIY career management platform that helps you achieve, grow and contribute, everyday.

For more information or questions contact us and we’ll be in touch.

[1] KPCB #InternetTrends, May 2015

[2] Becoming Steve Jobs, Schlender & Tetzeli, 2015

[3] Ray R Wang, Insider Associates

[4] KPCB, #InternetTrends, May 2015

[5] KPCB, #InternetTrends, 2015

[6] KPCB, #InternetTrends, 2015 sourced from ‘The 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce Report’, Upwork, formerly O-Desk, Elance Hiring Managers Survey Question.

[7] CEB Global Workforce Insights, Q1, 2015

The power of vision

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Visionaries see things that others can’t yet. They draw a straight line of sight between now and might be. What gives them that capacity? Surely it’s a combination of knowledge, powerful intellect, focus and enduring passion. Consider this, if eyes are the window to the soul, then what we believe, our purpose and meaning, our strengths and skills, experiences and choices project an image onto the wall of life we see around us. It’s a figment we reach towards and bring to life, day by day. Some would call it self fulfilling. Every lens is unique.

We know that MLK dreamed, Lennon imagined, Jobs believed. They each saw a particular future for themselves and others.

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. Your vision pulls you. – Steve Jobs

What vision is pulling you and what purpose and strengths will carry you forward? Let’s return for a moment to choices. It’s great if you’re pumping with passion. But how do you engage in work when what you do every day isn’t exactly ‘you’ or what you love? If it’s a means to an end, serving other higher value life priorities for now, you’re not alone. That’s fine provided you’re mindful of the difference between what you love, who you are and what you choose to do, especially when they’re at odds with where you are right now. How do you derive more satisfaction from every day when you’re not alight with enthusiasm and excitement? Curiously, the answer sits in the same set of qualities visionaries claim to enjoy.

Here’s five steps to creating your vision or simply building greater satisfaction

  1. Find the purpose in what you’re doing and focus on it. What bigger picture is at play and how are you contributing?
  2. Reflect on the strengths you bring to the task at hand. How can you apply your strengths for better outcomes with less effort? Using your strengths seldom requires onerous labour, they’re natural resources you can cultivate to very good effect.
  3. Consider what skills you’re using and growing right now. Apply them to the best of your ability. I heard Mark Carnegie recently say he applies the ISO9000 Standards test to everything he does. Know what skills can you enhance and refine and those you want to develop further. Work on your enduring, transferrable ‘soft’ skills.
  4. Seek out opportunities. If you dig a little deeper, you’re likely to find creative ways to build your experience and value right at your fingertips. Think of practical ways to own your choices – build deeper networks inside and outside your role and organisation, find others who share your bigger purpose, put your hand up for new and more complex projects, share your knowledge, mentor others, get involved.
  5. Be curious and remain open. Accepting the possibility of greater satisfaction in your current circumstances could reveal brand new possibilities. If you can’t change your role right now, at least change your attitude. Own your choices.

If you’re doing all these things, your vision and purpose will eventually come to you. If you’re still really unhappy, ask why and then wait for the answer. Resist the fleeting rhetorical question, which may mean placing fear on hold a moment. Once you’ve listened, build a concrete plan to move forward. What you’re doing today is, to a greater or lesser extent, creating value for you – it’s an asset in the making. You’re asset. You get to choose how you’ll invest and what your return will be. Remember, your best path to opportunity and a great future is doing well today.

Bring your vision to life today. Sign up at PlanDo or contact us at support@plando.com to find out more or request a demo.

Off to a flying start!

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Your early days in any new role are a critical time of promise and vulnerability. Let’s look at why and what you can do to set the scene for amazing success.

  1. Prepare to go into your role organized. Don’t wait until Day 1 to get started. Think about who your stakeholders will be – peers, leaders, team, coaches, mentors; explore what you need to know about the business, and if necessary do some research before you begin. To hit the ground running, get the background clear in your mind and know what questions you’ll want to ask up front. Don’t rely on conversations to find information that’s readily available elsewhere, look on line, do some investigating. Be curious when it comes to finding out about your new opportunity, and create a list of intelligent, in depth questions that reflect your enthusiasm to learn more. Know the influencers and decision makers internally and externally, the business priorities. Be ready to identify what networks you may need to build across the organization to ensure your success.
  2. Do any necessary personal housekeeping to free up your head and your time. It’s a good idea to go into a new environment physically refreshed, so if possible take a breather before you begin to clear the mind and get focused on the opportunities ahead.
  3. Be clear on what you bring and what you want. Know your skills, strengths and the things that motivate you to go the extra mile. Give some thought to how this role and this organization align to your personal values, sense of purpose and contribution. Hopefully, that’s been a part of the selection process already – that includes how you’ve selected your new role from your range of options. Be mindful that you’re better equipped for success in life and work when you ‘move towards‘ rather than ‘move away from‘.
  4. Make a great first impression. Research shows that there’s a limited window of opportunity when it comes to making a lasting positive impact. During the first 90 days in a new role, your peers, team, new leader and even your clients and customers want to see how well you stack up, they’re assessing you against their personal expectations and experience. They’re forming a view that could be hard to shake. It’s interesting that when you create a positive first impression, it will hold you in good stead even against some of the trials and challenges you may face in the future. Errors and misjudgments are more likely to be put down to circumstance rather than your innate shortcomings when people like you. On the other hand, if your first impressions leave others ambivalent, confused or even disliking your style, they’ll be judging you at every turn for a long time to come. Sad but true, ­it’s an element of human nature.
  5. Set yourself up for success. Create a sense of purpose and confidence that will carry you through this critical period. Start a 90 Day Plan. Break it down into 7, 14, 30, 60 and 90 days. Add to your plan as you go. It’s also a good idea to take a 12 month perspective and visualise what your achievements and contribution at the end of your first year will look like. Map out your quick wins and foundations for success. Think about where and how you’ll get traction that shows your value early. Consider what pain points you can effortlessly relieve or solutions that can easily make a difference. There’ll be other important elements that will ensure your success is sustained. These are investments in your future. For example, knowing business priorities and how your contribution aligns is key.
  6. Share your view of the role requirements and your 90 day plan and be brave and specific in asking what the expectations and outcomes are your leader is looking for. You’d be amazed at how many people move into roles without a clear idea of what’s expected. The early days in any role are a period of exploration and negotiation.
  7. Know what purpose your new role serves as a stepping stone to your future. So far these are all good strategies for getting off to a flying start, but let’s take a moment to reflect on the importance of the first few months in any new role to your career progress overall. We’re talking about a mindset and awareness that you’re proactively driving your career prepared to maximize every opportunity and accelerate your success. People stay in roles for shorter periods than every before and it’s a good idea to know what your ‘use by’ date could be in this role. On average, 30 year old high potentials stick around for 28 months, while the average tenure across all age demographics is 4.4 years. A rule of thumb suggests 6 months to get fully up the curve, 12 months building and refining skills, 12 months consolidating and 6 months in preparation for moving on. On this basis, you want to make the most of every day.
  8. Build an active plan to develop your skills. Research indicates that roughly 2 of 5 leaders underperform as they step into new, more senior roles. In all probability you’ll be facing new challenges, more complex tasks with greater impacts. It pays to know where your skills sit and what enduring and transferrable skills you’ll be building. If you can articulate them, even better. Self awareness is an important component of effective leadership.
  9. Recognise the difference between success and failure. It’s interesting to consider why some people succeed in roles when others don’t. There’s an old adage that says success occurs at the intersection of an individual’s strengths with business opportunities, whereas ‘failures’ are hallmarked by individual weaknesses alongside business challenges. It’s a hybrid of SWOT. So, think hard about what you bring, what you want to achieve and how you’ll go about it in your new environment.
  10. Start out as you mean to go on. After you’ve made a sound investment up front, you’ll want to maintain the rage. Don’t waste a moment of your good work. Keep driving your performance and growth and take the initiative to update your leaders, peers, coaches with your progress. This way you’ll stand out and be looking to bigger and better things way ahead of the pack.

Visit plando.com where you’ll find all the resources you need to knock their socks off, whoever they may be!

Innovation and your use by date

aaeaaqaaaaaaaakyaaaajddhmzfmyzm2ltewngutngnizs1hn2vjlwq2nzgxndjimzfjmqFantastic article today by Gijs van Wulfen – Innovation has nothing to do with age.

I speak with lots of people who admire innovators and their skills but lack the ‘risk’ gene (or current circumstances) to pull it off themselves. Alongside a healthy risk appetite, another key attribute for innovation is curiosity and that’s life long. It also helps to be defiant and persistent, other personality traits. Get the picture, it’s temperament, not days or lack of them that give us energy and an appetite for change.

I’ve recently built a software platform (and turned 60). It’s the culmination of my 30 years industry experience and is my ‘give back’ project. My experience isn’t 30 years old, it’s 30 years of experience. That gives me an advantage. I’ve partnered with a technologist which means we have rich subject matter expertise coupled with contemporary technology. It’s timing too. What I’m doing now would not have been possible before the world evolved to the cloud. Anyway, it’s a remarkable experience to be able to continue to do what you love. I’ve found that with age comes deeper insight, knowledge and confidence and I’m sure I’m not alone. If we’re looking for the role of mastery and experience in innovation and excellence, consider jazz musicians as a metaphor. They’re innovators and improvisors, more often than not, well schooled in the classics – years of it.

I believe there’s a strong future for deep subject matter expertise coupled with enabling technologies to create quality of life shifts that extend beyond technology that delivers cute little apps that let us order our lattes more efficiently or find a hire car around the corner. And yes, with life experience, comes perspective and opinions – also important to innovation.

Finally, even Eriksen, a father of life stage development theory, late on admitted he got it wrong. He conceded that he completely overlooked the huge developmental opportunities that await us post ‘adulthood’ in a period that is characterised by wisdom, reflection, liberation, energy and regeneration. Bring it on!

To play to your strengths and discover your motivators go to plando.com.