I recently undertook some research around job prospects in ‘the future of work’. Long story short, opinions are polarised. Some expert bodies believe that technology will cut 20-30% of all jobs (both low and high-skill). Others argue that a raft of new roles with Star Trek-sexy titles will materialise and we’ll all be just fine.
This week in Australia, Telstra, the largest Telco, announced a 3 year layoff plan for 8,000 staff, around 20% of its workforce. I’m no futurist, but, as an active thought leader, I like to think I have a decent handle on what’s coming down the pike. With labour costs increasing and human beings being, well, so inefficiently ‘human’ in comparison to robots and computers, I struggle to see anything other than there being fewer, not more, well-paid ‘traditional’ jobs in the future. Based on the latest census data, Australia’s fastest-growing jobs are aged-care worker, barista, hospitality worker and cleaner. All worthy roles for sure. But if you are currently sitting in a managerial role and fall on the wrong side of your organisation’s ‘Re-sizing for the Future’ programme, chances are pulling pints or frothing cappuccinos is not going to cut it.
You Need a Plan
This can all sound a bit gloomy, but it needn’t. The future of work is AMAZING. But to take advantage of its possibilities, we need to upgrade our skills and mindsets and present them in a way that others can access. You need to build your INFLUENCE. That means developing a VALUE BANK around your Personal and Professional brand. This exists outside of any employee relationship and is portable. When you want to (or need to) move on, it’s ready to help create options for whatever your NEXT looks like.
I think there are 5 key elements to develop. I capture them here in my model. I call this your INFLUENCER 5 PACK.
Professional & Personal Brand
This is about building a brand that showcases who you are and what you do. As our public and private lives are crushed together, I think it pays to capture all aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean that you have to share your inner-most secrets, more that you present a rounded view. It’s about capturing your authentic self. In our post-truth, low-trust world, we are looking for interesting people with drive, smarts and passion. Personally, in addition to promoting my professional work and credentials, I also discuss my family, my sporting interests in surf-boat rowing and rugby and my volunteer work in the mental health space.
Network & Tribe
Building your influence only works if you have the right people in your world. When I start to work with mentoring clients, I run an exercise called the Wealth/Poverty network. This identifies multiple types of people we need in our sphere of influence. The Wealth side includes people who will promote us, who can advise us, who have access to finances, who inspire us, who can help carry the load ………
Most people only have a traditional ‘work-based’ network. That’s not enough. It's rarely portable in the event you want or need to change industries or to pivot to become an entrepreneur or consultant. It can be a chastening experience to discover how fragile your network really is in the event you are no longer an influential manager (and therefore customer) in a big company. What you thought were solid connections evaporate overnight.
The game then is to identify the right people, fill in the gaps where you don’t know anyone and to proactively and consistently connect with those who are able and willing to help. Once you get the balance right it’s very rewarding and easy. You’ll find your tribe of like-minded folk who you can grow with, support, sell to and enjoy.
Thinking and Opinion
This is about getting your thinking out of your head and into the world. It’s a great way of showcasing what you know. Better still, the creative process itself usually leads to more and better ideas. It starts with giving yourself permission to put your stuff out there - typically in the form of a blog. LinkedIn is the perfect place to start with either a written piece or video.
You also need to express a point of view. If you’ve spent a long time in a corporate role, this can be hard. When I left my last leadership role, it took me a long time to be able to state, plainly, what I thought. I had to unlearn the corporate bullshit language. So have a swing. Add to the debate. It’s a great way to demonstrate your character, intelligence and ability to both define and solve a problem.
Build a Body of Work
You’ve probably been a hiring manager at some stage. That means looking at applications, CVs and, of course, LinkedIn profiles. Now imagine YOU are suddenly thrust on the job market. If I looked at your profile, what would I see? What would make you stand out?
Building your brand and demonstrating your thinking by creating a body of work is both impressive and rare! Imagine your LinkedIn profile contains 10, 20, 30 thought pieces. These combine to take me on a journey showcasing your expertise, experience and thinking. How much more likely are you to make the cut compared to the other 90% of people who have nothing beyond the standard name, rank and number fare?
Tone of Voice
Authenticity is over-used - but we are all in search of it. Many people and organisations disappoint us. We are over being sold to, fed up of corporate spin. This is why it’s important to develop your tone of voice in the content you create. It takes time, but once you have it, you are able to be yourself in the way you create and connect. Chances are if people like your online style, they will like you.
I have been playing this game for 7 years and now have a completely natural voice. What you see is what you get - and that’s very liberating. So don’t be afraid to express those individual thoughts, quirks, humorous quips, obsessions…… whatever…… that make you YOU.
Time to start?
This week it’s Telstra. Next week it could be you. We KNOW we need to change, but most wait …… and hope.
Taking the decision to build your INFLUENCE along the lines I outline here is a smart strategy and investment in your future. It creates options and exposes you to learning and growth. That’s got to be a good thing.
Check out the resources below and feel free to get in contact to find out more about how I can help.
Since 2010 Mark Hodgson has been successfully helping executives, coaches and consultants to build confidence, gain clarity in their message and position themselves as influential thought leaders who people want to work with.
He is the author of Time To Shine - Adapting who you are and what you know to succeed i... and a leading thinker and speaker on adapting our personal leadership to succeed in a volatile world. To book Mark as a speaker for your next event contact him here.
If you want to know more about working with Mark to activate this thinking in your world, check out the following options:
Time To Shine – Leader Workshop -> 1-day in-house programme for teams
Time To Shine – 60 or 90 Keynote speech ‘Why Humanity is our point of difference’
Time To Shine - Personal Mentoring Programme -> For organisational leaders, independent consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +61 425 230 335 for details.
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