Are you ignoring your social networking? The global business environment is harsh and there are no job securities anymore. If you work for a large company, you might loose your job purely on strategic shift in what the company needs. We have seen this during the past year where good people lose their job not because they have failed, but because the skills that they have are no longer what the company needs.
I really enjoy reading Chris Lemas’s blog posts. His writings are very informative and they inspire me to view things from multiple different perspectives. This post is in fact inspired of one of his recent blog posts where he reflects on his brother’s layoff from a software company. Was it because of his brother’s skills? No. The reasons where probably based on factors that we will never know but based on the blog entry from Chris, it was not based on the skills that his brother had. We have all seen this happen in our careers and some of us have had to execute the orders from the board. Unfortunately. I have. People that have had skills had to leave because the management and board made decisions of a new direction and this also impacted on current personnel.
What struck me very deeply in the story by Chris was that Chris’s brother had been so focused on working hard for the company and ignoring the social networking aspect. Getting the word out there that he is very skilled in creating algorithms and software with a rules engine. But probably nobody knew about his skills.
You can be the best in what you do, but if nobody knows about it, it does not do any good for you. I have “preached” to people in my seminars that it is increasingly important to build your own personal brand by doing this where other people can learn from you. You can do that by blogging or by sharing content using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. If you do not participate and create digital footprint, you will really suffer if the day comes where you are made irrelevant in your current job. If we go back 20 years, it was very had to build any footprint unless you participated in physical conferences or wrote books. Today, anybody can get information out to the cyberspace and contribute to a given topic. But you have to have focus. That is another topic that I will write about in my company’s blog soon as focus is what either kills or makes a company.
I wrote about my fear of becoming irrelevant in a previous post and this is why I keep on reading, studying, blogging and doing public speaking engagements in different parts of the world. I want to put myself out there and in many cases making calculated risks of extending the boundaries of my comfort zone. I have seen too many cases where “business as usual” has degraded the value of a professional and somebody will eventually notice this and then it is typically too late to make changes without considerable hurt. The risks to become obsolete will increase with age and the only “medication” to this is to know your domain extremely well and combine this with your long experience. If you keep mumbling that “this is the way we have always done it”, you will be on the loosing end. Guaranteed.
Chris Lema lists four steps to articulate your value to your ecosystem:
- Get clear about what you know what can help others
- Ignore the lie that keeps replaying in your own mind
- Write stuff down, preferably in story format
- Share it and monitor the response
I have decided to live the life of an entrepreneur and have done this for many years. It is not an easy choice by any standards. There are many things that you have to control and maintain and the most important thing in my mind is to keep your skills up-to-date. Nobody is willing to pay for your work if there is no value in it.
If you are currently working for an organization you need to reflect what value you bring to the company, what value the company brings to you and if you have been able to sustain your skills over time. It is your responsibility, not the responsibility of the company. That is something that we tend to forget. Remember that no company has a soul, it is run by people with different interests and you have to somehow manage all of that in your daily life and build the best career you can. That is your responsibility.