There is so much pressure to accommodate the compulsion in staying current by having the latest version phone or software technology. Advertising promotes the need to use the latest and greatest in order to gain a certain amount of bragging rights that you were an early adapter. On some level the same theory should apply to the way we position ourselves according to the latest trend in the skills needed to do well in our jobs. Blame the self “re-tooling” necessity on the poor economy; but upgrading to a higher version of yourself is a way to maintain your competitive edge. Pushing yourself to create a 4.0 version of your skills may better equip yourself for changes in the demands of the workplace for either flourishing or possibly just surviving in your job.
Companies changing demands on employees are always in a state of evolution. New behaviors and skills are defining competence. What I’m hearing and seeing from my corporate clients is a migration to more dialogue, more collaboration, more cross-functional interaction and most importantly, more self-guided leadership. These work styles also require companies to structure themselves to allow for these behaviors to flourish, but the transition isn’t always obvious, nor is it vocalized. It seems that the burden might rest on employees to be perceptive to these moves and taking initiative to engage in a new work style. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi book entitled, “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” gives some terrific insight into the types of mental shifts in behaviors and skills that promote the type of behavior that companies need from employees:
- Ability to screen out irrelevant stimuli and act on critical information
- Ability to stay on task for extended periods of time without succumbing to distraction or creating it for others
- Ability to provide immediate feedback about what you are doing and learning
- Lack of fear or self-consciousness in your approach towards transparency
- Ability to consistently bring high skill level to a high-level challenge
A wise practice is to take an honest inventory of the ways we behave on our work teams in terms of collegial interaction as well as self discipline. Are we adapting and evolving in the same direction as the company is going? How do we know? Pay attention to who is thriving in their jobs and develop a perception as to how they are doing it. What can you learn?