Early on, I wrote that:
It is no longer the case that one can gain a single technical skill and assume it will be enough to sustain someone through his or her career. Those that can spot opportunity, define a vision, articulate it to motivate themselves and others to follow it, and then execute on that vision will be best poised to succeed in an increasingly exciting, but turbulent world.
From a very high level, that is an overarching theme on this blog.
In the latest Tom Friedman column, there are some wonderful thoughts from Reid Hoffman that pair perfectly with this, about experimenting and adapting, spotting opportunity, teaching yourself to take advantage of new opportunities, and being resilient through the process. I excerpt:
Hoffman argues that professionals need an entirely new mind-set and skill set to compete. “The old paradigm of climb up a stable career ladder is dead and gone,” he said to me. “No career is a sure thing anymore. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it’s now like for all of us fashioning a career. Therefore you should approach career strategy the same way an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.”
To begin with, Hoffman says, that means ditching a grand life plan. Entrepreneurs don’t write a 100-page business plan and execute it one time; they’re always experimenting and adapting based on what they learn.
It also means using your network to pull in information and intelligence about where the growth opportunities are — and then investing in yourself to build skills that will allow you to take advantage of those opportunities. Hoffman adds: “You can’t just say, ‘I have a college degree, I have a right to a job, now someone else should figure out how to hire and train me.’ ” You have to know which industries are working and what is happening inside them and then “find a way to add value in a way no one else can. For entrepreneurs it’s differentiate or die — that now goes for all of us.”
Finally, you have to strengthen the muscles of resilience. “You may have seen the news that [the] online radio service Pandora went public the other week,” Hoffman said. “What’s lesser known is that in the early days [the founder] pitched his idea more than 300 times to V.C.’s with no luck.”