Now is not the time for Netflix bingeing or mastering dance moves on Tik Tok. Right now, is the time to be adding value to your network, upskilling, researching about your industry’s needs, and refining your brand, so you’re ready to pivot to meet the demand post Covid-19.
Yes, there is a lot out of our control. But there is also much in our control to maximise this unprecedented situation.
You don’t want to be the runner, casually strolling up to the starting line with your shoelaces untied. You want to be the runner who has trained hard and is already on the starting line, well stretched, muscles coiled, mind focused, poised to accelerate the moment the gun fires.
WHAT WE KNOW
The world is in lockdown and businesses are battening the hatches. Redundancies are inevitable, people are being stood down, pay cuts are happening across industries, share prices are plummeting, and our way of working is being transformed.
Whether you are looking to keep your role, transition your career or kick-off your own business, success will come easier to those who are resilient, positive, and proactive problem solvers. Strategic thinkers who can join dots and do more with less, inspire collaboration and influence change—entrepreneurial mindset with exceptional leadership skills.
How are you honing your skills and knowledge to be poised on the start line? How are you finding ways to highlight your value today to build opportunities for tomorrow?
There is plenty of action to be taken.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
We don’t know when the world will collectively take a breath. We don’t know when the economy will begin to recover. We don’t know what devastation and opportunity will be left in its wake.
Not knowing is not an excuse for inaction. Not knowing is the reason for action.
WHAT IS IN OUR CONTROL
Creating options. Options are invaluable when you are dealing with the unknown. Options give you choices and enable you to pivot to best meet the demand and stay relevant.
Tighten those shoelaces and let’s launch into all the ways you can create options for yourself in the areas of personal branding and career strategy.
Personal Branding: Build impact, credibility, visibility and opportunity.
- Identify one area of expertise you want to be the ‘go-to’ person for. If you can’t find ways to leverage your current ‘go-to’ expertise, pivot your brand to highlight another relevant value-add. What are people coming to you for right now? What problem are you consistently being asked to solve?
- Identify the people who might need your expertise in the current situation and write out a ‘help list’ that either identifies people by name, business or company. Identify their key pain-points and shape solutions to those challenges.
- Using that expertise, add value immediately by offering to coach, mentor or train people. Run virtual lunch and learns, mentor a group of newer employees needing to upskill, volunteer your expertise for a project on building team connectedness, launch a company-wide/sector-wide initiative, write a new policy for working from home. Share relevant blogs, articles, or video clips.
Be a thinker
- Take your value-add to a broader audience through thought leadership by writing a how-to guide, sharing your top ten tips, delivering a case study and your opinion on the best strategy moving forward. Help people to find a solution to their pain-points. Better yet, do it live, record it and make the video available for people to access when it suits their schedule. It also makes it easier for people to share your solutions with their network.
Be the best
- Own your expertise by enhancing your knowledge on the subject. Absorb everything you can get your hands onto and strive to bring best practices to your value-add offerings. You don’t need to be the global authority in your area of expertise, you need to be the authority in your sphere of influence, and you need to be known as someone who is continuously striving to be better informed.
Be a leader
- See what is needed and act. Share your vision, bring others on the journey and go to fight for what you believe is the truth. Go to your leader or business partner with opportunities for growth and areas acting as handbrakes. Say what needs to be said, stand in the discomfort, make the tough calls. There is no handbook for what is being experienced at the moment, stand out by displaying the grit and determination required to keep the wheels of the business moving forward.
Be connected and a connector
- Connect with people in the wider business, the sector, customers, suppliers, your global network – be genuinely interested in how people are holding up, be curious, listen. Go virtual for lunch meetings, coffee catch-ups, and Friday afternoon drinks. Be the person who unites and uplifts people.
- Make introductions and connect people who could add value to each other. The world needs more connectivity right now, and we are more open to helping each other.
Be on point
- Eliminate confusion and ensure every touchpoint people have with you highlights your ‘go-to’ expertise. Audit your LinkedIn, company profile, and email signature. Think about how your attitude, communication, and ability to deal with curve-balls impacts how people perceive you. Review if you’re being drawn into negative, fear-mongering conversations or if you are seen as a beacon for positivity, resilience and problem-solving.
Career Strategy – Build clarity, confidence, and direction.
- What is happening in your industry or industries you’re interested in? What are the changes, challenges, and opportunities? Who has left? Moved? What skills or knowledge will be critical in the next 24 months? Who is leading the charge with innovation and technology? Is your business leading or lagging? Who is hiring and who isn’t?
- Reconnect with your strengths, skills, and development gaps. Where is there an opportunity to build greater business acumen, widen or cross-functionalize your skillset? How can you bridge your development gaps? How can you drive best practices?
- Get clear on how you could pivot in your organisation. Be across all company communications and strategise how you be part of the solution. Redraft your goals for 2020, prioritise and be prepared to be agile. If you are job seeking, have your CV and LinkedIn prepared, be across all potential employer press releases and staff movements. No matter your job status, network, build champions and nurture relationships – this will be paramount in the next year.
What action will you take to show up at the start-line poised and primed to win?
WAYS TO STAY FIT & FOCUSSED
Like any athlete in training, it is critical also to have a plan for our fuel, strengthening exercises, and rest. We are planning to win after all.
- Control what you feed your mind and body. Fuelling our minds with accurate news, positivity, stories of success, resilience, and perseverance. What you focus on is what you get. If you surround yourself with new ways of thinking and inspiration, you can spark a sense of possibility, hope, and momentum. Likewise, feeding your body with smart food that will support your focus and energy is 100% in our control.
- Find ways to build strength. Flex your brain by curating a more extensive source of learning, seek out new blogs, podcasts, TED Talks, magazines, news articles, and short courses. Build your global business acumen and connect with sector and competitor news. Strengthen your emotional resilience by enhancing your connections, making time to speak to your inner circle regularly, and check-in with yourself daily through journaling, providing your thoughts, feeling, and emotions a place to be heard. Finally, move. Find ways to keep exercising, to move and stretch and feel connected to your body.
- All work and no play can lead to burnout. Build a routine that works for you that includes recharging the batteries. Get good sleep and block out time for fun – now is finally the time for Netflix and Tik Tok!
Pivot and propel yourself to success or relax and risk losing. What will you choose?
Image Copyright: Rhicke Jennings, LinkedIn