Published: August 2, 2016, Copyright (c) Sandy Elrick
Reaching Outside Yourself
It has been a while since my last writing. I have found I needed some more time than before to assess the current state of affairs and to also take a break to recharge myself. It also happens that sometimes inspiration takes a break as well and you just have to go with the flow.
So this makes me wonder, how can you continue your goals when you need more inspiration? Well, the reason may be something far more simple than you think. You may need to reach outside yourself. Life isn’t just about you and your continuous effort. It is an ebb and flow, a give and take. Like every relationship, it is a balancing act for you to work with this change and learn the nuances.
Part of what I am still working on is the future path(s) I am spending my time and energy on. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get some more insight into parts of my life as well as just spend real-time on things that will contribute to my future (career or otherwise). I grow anxious about career when I see a consistent message that may be problematic. For example – I would say of the 200 security roles I have reviewed in my pursuit to access a new path, 199 out of 200 have been for ‘Senior Security Analyst’ or ‘Senior Security Architect’. One, yes, one, was for a junior role (day-to-day administrator more than anything else).
Everyone Wants to Achieve Perfection, Now
So this revelation has led me to conclude that there is a perception and/or need of businesses to only have someone skilled in a senior capability to do the job they need. Why is this? It could be for many reasons – business don’t have the funds or time to bring someone up to speed; the hiring manager is unclear of the potential of a new recruit into the field and what that fresh perspective can bring to the table; the parties involved aren’t bringing their best to the table to present real opportunity to solve a real business problem due to lack of time or other commitments; there is a perception that only the best will fit the role. Any number of these could be contributing to the ‘lack of resources’.
The outfall of this continued method is a further perception that there are not enough skilled workers to fulfill the roles. This applies to many industries, not just Information Technology. I’ve seen it in Finance, Manufacturing, and Health Care. A growing concern is being lobbied to the governments of various levels that business cannot succeed because it cannot find the skilled resources it needs. I might argue that this need can be fulfilled by these businesses if they take a fresh look at how they do things and begin to understand the real value people of any age, sex, or focus can bring to their business.
This goes back to my earlier article where I was mentioning concerns about outsourcing reducing Information Technology industry viability because it is essentially a form of cost reduction in the most real sense. Companies are struggling to come up with new funding and are trying to be creative to cut costs and be more efficient. It seems to me to be a losing battle – focusing on the negatives of a situation. The disconnect is actually a misinterpretation of cause and effect – if we reduce our labour costs we will achieve profitability. Profitability (especially short-term) is definitely achieved by cost cutting. Make no mistake, profitability does not equal viability. So the question becomes, “Would it not be a more effective strategy, from a senior management standpoint, to invest and grow a resource as opposed to cut and slash?”. The answer is “Yes!”, if the goal is to promote long-term viability. Cutting costs is a short-term measure to help resolve temporary problems. Longer term goals require broader thinking and measured action.
Speed of Change
One of the biggest facets of business today is the push to be able to respond to business challenges at a faster and faster pace. It is said that market forces (governments, international markets, speculation/expectations, and supply and demand) are facilitating this dynamic change and it is here to stay. The conundrum is that this is but one way of approaching speed of change. Change is occurring but a measured approach means you do not need to react and respond unless it is of great importance to the overall business plan (you have prepared and know when and where to allocate resources to various scenarios). This is also known as the proactive versus reactive approach.
These approaches are as much reflective of an individual as they are a business. A business is simply a combination of all of the all the individual actions/reactions that occur. Guidance from a senior management is key to correcting the major obstacles to growth and to ensure business rhythm is not negatively impacted by the speed of change.
I’ll give you an example – learning how to surf. It requires opportunity (a good day of wave action), an individual with an understanding of how to surf (but not necessarily experience), and the right tools (surf board, swim gear, an ability to swim, good decision-making skills). These three components – opportunity, desire, and capability – lead an individual generally to success and have the ability to learn from failure. In the right proactive circumstances – an individual can learn how to surf and to apply that learning to be successful at it (including learning and advancing after failures). Without any one of these three components, there is little chance for success and/or the ability to respond to change. The take away is that these three things are available in ALL labour – individual, experienced or not. What is different is the degree of effectiveness (again, experienced or not) in each situation.
Humans Are Not Perfect and Neither Is Business
So I believe a false premise is that having an expectation of perfection or polar thinking (the desire to see an extreme outcome in a given situation) consistently is the antithesis of change. How can you adapt when all you are concerned about is achieve the exact same primary goal? Is the goal a business need or an effect of the cumulative effort from the business? What potential is there if all you are doing is the same thing over and over? Does that really prepare you for the ‘next wave’? Surfers learn that waves are not consistent and they have to be very adaptable to catching not just the big waves but also the small ones. Why? It is rather simple – each and every good wave is an opportunity. The result may be different, but that difference allows then to gain experience, to foster their desire, and to improve their capability when it comes responding to dynamic situations.
Growth does not occur in a bubble of perfection. It is the reason we see financial crisis on a weekly basis throughout the world. Growth occurs when each individual contributes to the whole – some more than others at times and some more uniquely than others. A dynamic response is directly correlated to the diversity of the opportunities, desires, and capabilities of your labour force, markets, and the world at large.
Businesses who continue to invest in both experienced and inexperienced labour will achieve great success (all contributing to the whole). Old and new perspectives allow for adaptability to change. The speed of change will continue to grow until other forces come into play to disrupt or transform it into something different. It is natural to expect this, so why do we let fear, anxiety, doubt to affect our expectations and decision-making?
It is my hope that through greater appreciation and support of ‘taking chances’ that taking a measured gamble is more worthy than the status quo. Realizing potential means taking risk… human risk. Businesses need to break out of the routine of asking for only the best people (a false premise) and really learning to ‘ask for the best’ in people. That is not so tough an ask as you may think it can be.