The world recently lost one of its great innovators with the passing of David Bowie – a social culture genius and my musical hero for decades. He stood out for many reasons, one of which was his ability to evolve and change his public and stage persona. By re-inventing himself from David Jones through Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke and ultimately the Lazarus character, he kept his appeal, allowing him to explore new music and experiment – always looking ahead and capitalising on future opportunities.
To keep relevant at work we have to do something similar – I am not suggesting Glam Rock outfits, but change is essential. By owning your career you take charge of the changes you need to make to ensure you are relevant for the organisation’s or industry’s future; making you highly employable and at the forefront of your profession.
Many people I coach have initially proudly stated that they are firmly in their comfort zone at work. I would like to rename this zone to ‘The Danger Zone’. When you rest in this space of dangerous comfort, others are learning, changing and adapting and ultimately overtaking you, due to their current relevance. They will be the stars of the future, not you.
Action lists for 2016 need to include what changes you are going to make to align yourself to the future strategy or direction of the business. This may be evolution or on occasions may demand revolution and a need to reinvent yourself. Either way, own it, inspire others with it and live it.
David Bowie summed this attitude up by stating that “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” Embrace your creative streak, combine it with your commercial acumen, be courageous and make the ch..ch..ch..changes that will drive your career success this year. Not everyone will like what you are doing, but forge on, leave the nay-sayers behind.
RIP David – let his music and future focused attitude to change guide us all.