I see people every day in business lost on what they should or can do. The old rules where you were a good boy or girl and advanced up a ladder doesn’t play out much today. You can’t simply rest on your laurels and hope someone notices enough to develop a career path for you.
In addition, we have this amazing world of access. You can find out what opportunities exist, and get transparency into jobs far away with ventures of all sizes and shapes. And if you research, investigate and talk to people, you see less of a correlation between formal education and credentials to the jobs that they take on. People are continually reinventing themselves because of necessity.
One strategy for talent has been to be well-rounded. Learning and doing a lot without focusing too much in one area was a conventional approach.
The problem is that you are competing against the world now. Someone looking for talent can find that person who is sharp, not well- rounded. Sharp skills in areas are desirable because we have the options to keep finding what we are looking for out there readily and we want execution.
We pay disproportionately for top golfers vs. mediocre talent. Same goes for executives that have a special skill or all that cream we see rising to the top.
I think in a flatter world that moves extremely fast, you should forget about being well-rounded. Its better to be sharp and be extremely good at those chosen areas where your competition can’t touch you. It’s a way of standing out and letting your beacon of talent distinguish you when people are looking for solutions that get results fast.
If you find the carpet pulled out from under your feet, or if you can anticipate your comfortable position changing in the next year or so, then how about getting sharper in an area?
- Take an inventory of all the things you like to do.
- Pick one to move your skills, knowledge and ability to the next level.
- Find projects and customers that will pay for this one talent now. Do the research where to find them and put your shingle out.
- Promote your work.
Get that reputation that you stand out and are sharp in an area.
I’m not sure people have much choice otherwise in a hypercompetitive, accessible world of options. It beats obscurity.