Don’t ask who will be employed now
Today I commented on Jon Ingram‘s post about the way HR managers are responding to the recession and remarked that we should not be like the proverbial ostrich – head in the HR sand, butt in the breeze, where it is likely to be shot off!
Ostriches can run really fast (I’ve ridden one). A kick from them will also de-gut you as effectively as a kick from a giraffe.
So why don’t they run or attack, which they sometimes do?
Well, partly, they are none to bright (easily dazzled and then captured by reflecting the sun off your watch into their eyes).
But they are hoping that if they are quiet, that they will be safe.
So I am not going to be quiet. It does not make me safe.
But I’ll also be kind, and tell you why I am blathering on about the wild animals of southern Africa.
Is the knowledge I acquired in southern Africa of use here? Well, some is and some isn’t.
The point is that the competencies of yesterday are not necessarily valuable tomorrow.
We must distinguish what of yesterday we can take forward to the future.
We can respect the rest. We can reminisce about it. But some belongs to the past and will not contribute to the business models of tomorrow.
Don’t bury your head in employment sand!
The questions we have to ask, and should ask each year in our strategy review are:
- What competencies is this business or my career based?
- How are these going to change? Incrementally, or suddenly and discontinuously requiring radical back-to-school training?
And in a bad downturn, we should also ask:
- Can I use the slow time of the downturn to re-train and get some early experience in these new technologies?
Strategies for employers and employees
Employers should be actively building their team around the technologies of tomorrow.
Employees who have switched-off employers should be networking hard to find and build the team that is coalescing around the markets and technologies of the future.
Ask who will be employed in the future?
Here is a simple procedure
1 Grab an old shoe box
- For one month, on an A5 envelope, every day write down one url to the future of your field with some notes about why you think it is important. Date it!
- For one month, on an A6 envelope, write down the contact details of a person who seems to be heading towards the right future and the nature of your contact with them. Date it!
- On the back of some other suitable scrap, jot down a daily diary of “what were the main events of today and WHY DID IT GO SO WELL”. Keep your rough-and-ready diary in the box.
- Print out a calendar. Mark off each day and “don’t break the chain”. Get the creative thinking charged up and humming.
2 At the end of the month, review and repeat
- But this time discard one of the A5 and A6 envelopes as you add a new pair each day.
- Keep the rough-and-ready diary going and remember to end by asking the question “WHY DID THE DAY GO SO WELL?”
- And remember “don’t break the chain”. Do this exercise daily however roughly.
You’ll be in the future before me!
Now, you’ll be in the future before me, so let me know how it goes. I’m particularly interested in how many months it takes you. My guess is three at the outside.
And when you’ve done this, we’ll “make a plan” to come back to rescue the ostriches! We’ll have a figured out a role for them by then.
Right now, lets go out, scout the future and be there when it happens!