Are you prepared for the new world of work?

Unless you’ve just returned from a long stint on Mars, you will be very familiar with all the talk, articles, presentations and workshops that are shouting out the same message: big changes are coming and they’re unprecedented in terms of their scope, impact and magnitude.

The danger of being assaulted by the same message all the time is that one switches off to it. One simply stops listening because it’s something that’s been read, heard or experienced so many times.

Every time we turn on the TV, listen to the radio, read a business magazine, surf the Net, the message is in our faces. And, like a child who is continually shouted at, we develop a deafness to the shouting so that it becomes “normal” and we take no notice of it.

That is not a good idea.

We can’t, however, allow ourselves to become like a leaf which gets tossed around according to the way the wind blows. That won’t get us anywhere either. How, then, should business leaders and managers be managing their careers and their people in light of the many messages that are shouted at them all the time?

Listen to the messages

It’s a fool who chooses to ignore information and advice about what is imminent in the workplace, so don’t be a fool. Make sure you are well informed. To do that, identify and select a few key information sources you believe you can trust and stick with them. Naturally these sources will be determined by the type of work you’re doing. Once you’ve decided on your trusted sources, subscribe to their newsletters, visit their web sites and/or subscribe to any other information sources they may have.

Respond to what you hear

It’s one thing to be well informed, but it’s another to do something with or about the information you receive. Knowing something but not acting on the information is not wise. While you may not classify yourself as an early adopter who embraces every new idea as soon as it makes an appearance, you certainly have to factor in new developments and new thinking into your own consciousness.

Maintain your relevance

If you don’t respond to new developments, you will systematically make yourself irrelevant and, when you become irrelevant, you are no longer of value to your employer or shareholders.  

Your relevance is determined by the type of problems you can solve and, the more complex the problems you solve, the more value you are to your company, your community and your country. Think about someone you look to as a person who can help you solve problems. You value their expertise and input. That’s where you want to be – in a position where people come to you because they believe you can help them solve their problems. People like that never have to look for opportunities – opportunities come to them!

Find solutions to the new challenges       

Don’t only read about the coming challenges, read up on proposed solutions and think about coming up with your own solutions for some of those challenges. People issues are extremely complex. If you make it your business to find ways to solve some of the key people issues, you make yourself more valuable, more desirable and more in demand.

This benefits your company and your career. The value you create for your company by solving their problems will put you in line for promotions and salary increases. This might sound a bit simplistic but employees sometimes don’t make the connection that what they do actually affects their career prospects.

The other side of that coin is that companies looking for people who can do the job and solve their problems will get to hear about you (in the fishbowl world of today, nothing is a secret) and start making you offers to work for them.   

I mention these points merely to stimulate your thinking so that you realise that it’s very much in your interests to prepare yourself for the workplace of the future. Don’t leave your future in the hands of someone else. Do what you can do to ensure that the best is yet to come!

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine,, @HRFuturemag, and a professional speaker. He assists business leaders to lead their people into the new world of work.

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