An old pal of mine recently broke some bad news to me – after more than 10 years of working for the same company, he was unfortunately let go. With sympathy and concern for both him and his family, I couldn’t stop thinking about how such an unfortunate situation could befall a smart and hardworking person.
Our workforce is migrating to a gig economy and becoming increasingly competitive. There is a lot of responsibility and stress for people today to stay ahead of the game or risk being redundant. Such anxieties are natural, especially with the rise of unemployment amid a better-looking economy.
Having been in this industry for over 20 years, I’ve had many employees and peers ask me what the secret is to staying in my position for so long – without losing passion.
Adopting this mindset will put into perspective many things, giving you a fresh take on your competitors, peers, employees, and even job scope. It’s easy to become complacent and fall into a comfortable routine if you’ve been in the same role at the same company for a long time. However, having a lifelong learning attitude will position yourself to look towards the future and embrace its uncertainty, knowing that this skill will always help you stay ahead of your counterparts as well as give new meaning and purpose to your professional working life.
Learning is always a journey, never an outcome – especially in today’s fast-paced landscape. Here are my recommendations to help kick start your lifelong learning journey, starting today!
Think of some of your role models and successful competitors: what are some of their traits that you’d like to embody? Are they great leaders, good time-managers or inspiring communicators? Scrutinise the way they walk, talk, and behave, identify what makes them exceptional and take action to improve yourself in these areas. Don’t be afraid to stand on the shoulders of giants; embrace your own shortcomings and turn these lessons learnt into actionable change!
In today’s competitive economy, being a hard worker will only get you so far. To truly stand out, embodying strong leadership skills is a must. Besides acting as the voice on behalf of his or her employees, this role directly affects a company’s culture and environment.
Honing your leadership skills also brings many fringe benefits for the individual, as it also trains your communication, management, negotiation and collaboration skills, while building up your professional portfolio. There’s a fine line between being a leader and a micromanager; it’s important to do your research and glean feedback to be an effective commander-in-chief. A strong leader will helm a good team to become a great one, and a strong leader is one that people won’t forget.
Besides the soft skills I’ve listed out above, you also need to equip yourself with hard, factual knowledge to stay up-to-date in today’s fast-changing society. With the accessibility of the Internet and smartphone devices, educating yourself has never been easier. What will set you apart from your less-informed peers is the effort you put in to understand how the business landscape works.
Always be on the lookout for the latest technology available, newest insights on your industry, and shifting consumer trends. Go to trade shows and conferences such as Canon’s Think Big Leadership Business Series and make yourself an expert in your field.
Going to industry conferences are also a great way to network and make new connections. David Deming, Associate Professor of Education and Economics at Harvard University, claims that being sociable and collaborating well with others are key skills for the modern workplace.
Relationships require regular maintenance and you might just learn a thing or two from your professional network. You have to first put yourself out there, reach out to colleagues old and new, and update your LinkedIn profile – remember to like Canon Singapore’s LinkedIn page while you’re at it!
No matter where you’re at, never stop learning and developing yourself for the better; stay ahead in your field and ignite your passion for knowledge!