In the last six months I’ve had a number of career professionals from various industries and business backgrounds requesting one of my rotating mentoring slots on a single topic: risktaking. Their requests have run the gamut from just beginning their hero’s risktaking journey to someone who once thought their risktaking chops would last a career lifetime, only to discover that after recent setbacks their risktaking efforts are considered reckless instead of responsible.
Since reading Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces over two decades ago, his “mythological structure of the journey of the archetypal hero that he found in world myths” continues to fascinate me as a writer, learning producer, and emerging documentary filmmaker. Given today’s global challenges it’s not too difficult to understand why so many people feel overwhelmed and incapable of seeking out their heroic nature, when just getting by each day can feel heroic.
Shortly after my book was published I held a workshop at the Santa Clara Public Library where much of my research was done (never overlook great research librarians!). One of the women in the audience asked if reinventions and transformations were the same thing. Great question and one that we often get asked.
In the last couple of years I’ve been focused on laying down the first draft of my memoir while also working on a pre-production draft of a documentary, so you could say that I’ve been deeply involved in peeling away layers.
It’s the middle strata that gets squeezed by leadership teams that demand more output with less budget and resources, squeezed by direct reports, stakeholders, and functional teams who demand time and energy, and squeezed by vendors and suppliers who look to them for day-to-day operational direction. The good news? There’s no such thing as a wasted experience.
A slew of articles caught my eye this week that could provide us with a sneak peek into future skills and tasks that will impact the types of jobs available, particularly for what I call the middle strata—program and project managers, change practitioners, and mid-level leaders—career professionals who will shoulder the brunt of transformational change for organizations, particularly as AI and other advanced technologies take root. Let’s begin by taking a look at three areas—human data labeling, AI communications, and human-to-machine collaboration—in order to get a better idea of how the dots might connect for the middle strata in the next few years.
Economic downturns can happen at any time. The toughest part in planning for a recession is that those who may be impacted the most will typically have less time to plan. This means that you'll want to be prepared ahead of the curve-at all times. Let’s look at seven reasons why you’ll want to recession-proof your next career reinvention—now.
Wondering if you’re a “what-if” person like Jasmine? Jasmine (not her real name) and I met during a delayed flight from San Jose to Honolulu. Crammed into a lounge area filled with people none too pleased with the delay, we carried on a philosophical conversation about what it means to live a full life. I don’t know about you, but for me the right people show up in my life when I need to hear what they have to say. It often works in reverse as well.
Gartner projects that by 2030 artificial intelligence will replace up to 80 percent of the tasks managed today by project managers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Project managers manage a myriad of granular tasks that could (and should) be offloaded to smart machines so that PM’s can focus on implementing more complex, high-risk initiatives.
A NYTimes quote the other day by California’s Governor Gavin Newsom got my attention when asked about his major areas of focus in the near term —preparing for a recession — “more acute than ‘01 but less acute than ‘07”. It’s good to hear that Newsom’s administration is planning and preparing for the next economic downturn.
The soft underbelly of reinventing yourself? Not everyone will delight in your self-discoveries, especially if it disrupts how they feel about you and confusion about how you’ll fit in their world. Prepare for it now. Then it won’t come as a shock to your senses when family, friends, colleagues, and even old bosses see you as disrupting their equilibrium.
You might have read the article that summarizes the results of a survey by KPMG LLP titled "Will Women Take Big Risks?" It was disconcerting to see that less than half of the 2,000 respondents of the Risk, Resilience, Reward survey were open to taking big risks to further their careers.
Adaptability is one of those words that get bandied about along with the likes of resilience and flexibility and agility. There's the more formal definition of adaptability: the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions. But it's only a word unless you apply it to an experience that has somehow changed you along the way, which brings me to the other definition of adaptability: the capacity to be modified for a new use or purpose.
In the waning days of another year it’s natural to reflect on a year gone by. What were the highlights and lowlights? Where could I have adjusted my actions to better align with my desired goals? Were there times where I could have stepped up to take advantage of higher quality opportunities?
Can you develop an appreciation for office politics? Most people I speak with may not think so until I share a glass half-full view instead of an empty glass perspective. Of course, much depends on whether you take steps to learn from different environments and the people dynamics that come with your experience.