Brighton School of Business and Management Student Newsletter May 2010
Contributions from you, our students, are very welcome, if you have information, advice, website links, or ideas, that may be of help to other students, please send them to us.
As the global recession continues to affect most types of organisations, and also threatens the stability of individual countries, there is even more reason for ambitious professionals to focus even harder on their professional and career development situation.
This month’s newsletter contains a blend of articles that shed light on how the workplace is changing, and, importantly for working professionals, how this is affecting career opportunities.
We realise that, and are pleased that, most of you are not out of work, but we feel it is important, given these grave times, to offer advice for those who are, and to those who may be in the near future.
The following articles have been selected by our Management tutor team:
Future Proof Your Career
For the full article, and others, visit: www.mindtools.com
How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed, will your job even exist in its present form in five years, or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time, what will happen to the company and industry you work for?
We really don’t know what the future holds. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future.
How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don’t find yourself facing a dead end in your career?
Here are some strategies you can begin pursuing now. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open.
Find an “Academy” company. If you’re early in your career, get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE, Toyota, ECCO, and Mars.) When you work for this kind of company, you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. This forms a great foundation for a successful career.
Become and remain tech-savvy. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current, even if new developments don’t seem directly related to your current job. Otherwise, you’ll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing, do it. If you’re in a highly technical field of work, be proactive and stay current – even when your company does not.
Develop your competencies, skills and experience. Along with technical skills, it is critically
important to continue your professional development, so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. Leadership, communication, innovation, stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. Here are some ways to do this:
Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. Monitor and track your progress.
Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need.
Develop cross-functional skills. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments, specialisation is no longer the route of choice. It can pay off for some; however, it has high risk of obsolescence attached.
Your specific technical skills may get out of date. That’s why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. A broad range of competencies, skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry.
Think global. In many industries, geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. Your co-workers, clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by:
Learning about working with diverse cultures.
Asking for assignments that require international exposure.
Learning another language.
The more experience you get, the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future.
Create and maintain a success journal. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well, the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you’ve been responsible for. Employers want to know what you will do for them. When you have a ready list of things you have done, it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills, so:
Track your duties, projects and results.
Keep a list of professional development activities you’ve participated in.
List the training you’ve completed.
Note your volunteer work.
File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance.
Build and maintain a professional network. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organisation. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes, and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain. When you add a mentor or two to your network, you have the added bonus of learning new skills, technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. Don’t forget to:
Collect business cards.
Keep track of former bosses and colleagues.
Join professional networking associations.
Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry.
Scan the environment. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy, your profession and the industry you are in. No one can accurately predict the future; however stay ahead of the crowd by keeping yourself informed, and choosing to work in industries – and for employers – that have long-term sustainability. So:
Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press.
Complete PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in.
Analyse the attractiveness of your company using Porter’s Five Forces and the USP Analysis models.
Back your hunches and analysis with action. If you think your company or industry is in trouble, it’s best to get out while the going’s good!
Overall, avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term; however, you will eventually have to leave. It is better to prepare now.
Keep a clear career path open. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organisation where there’s a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. For many, this will not be the case.
This may not be a problem if you’re in a fast growth industry – if you’re good at what you do, opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. However if you’re in a slow growth industry or are one in decline, then this is a problem: There may be no onward path, and development may be blocked, however hard you work. This will lead to frustration, boredom and, in the long term, failure to achieve your potential.
This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career, even if it means a job- or career-change.
Develop resilience. Because the future is uncertain, you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. So:
Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis.
Develop realistic and achievable goals, monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back.
Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you.
All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning.
You need to become good at both to secure your future career.
While your current job description may not be relevant in the future, you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. With some forethought and planning, you can take control of your future career today.
The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen, it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change.
When you realise that change is constant and you need to be constantly planning so you can stay ahead of the game, you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that arise.
Recession-Proofing:Advice from international HR Experts
For the full article, and others, visit: www.timesascent.in
Experts suggest that “recession-proofing” is about gaining a variety of experiences which will enable you to be relevant in turbulent times. Understanding the key priority areas for your business, and focusing on gaining experiences in those areas, is the key. Namrata Mathur, executive director, HR, Diageo India, who believes strongly in the above says that the best way to do so is by leveraging your strengths and focusing on excelling in areas which you are good at. “This will enable you to work at top performance levels and ensure that you remain relevant,” she adds.
There are many recessions, according to Dr. Uma Ganesh, CEO, Global Talent Track – the real one which implies decline of GDP and then there is what India is currently undergoing, a recession of sentiment. The need for relevant skills to boost one’s career opportunities enables the fight to be won against both real and perceived recessions. “Recession proofing means giving one’s resume a true edge by acquiring skills that will always be in demand. It will ensure that the skills acquired, be it in technical areas or business and marketing or even team leadership are seen to be truly mission-critical for any organisation. Every person who aspires to be successful must demonstrate that their skills will help the company through good and bad times,” adds Ganesh.
HR experts say that the recession is only a temporary tide. “Recession proofing will help companies focus on nurturing and growing talent, resource optimisation and enhancing quality and productivity. Employees would benefit by focusing on producing good work and multi-disciplinary skills, so as to make him/her stand above the rest, during such times,” adds Vinay Verma, executive VP, Human Capital, Subhash Projects “but there are things one should avoid at the workplace that might hinder the recession-proofing process: 1) don’t be fearful about losing your job, 2) don’t spread uncertainty or fuel rumours, 3) don’t be a job hopper and 4) don’t downplay/pull down your colleagues”.
An employee can be called “recession proof” when the value of his/her current contribution does not dwindle and he/she is also seen as a potential contributor under tough circumstances. Somsuvro Chatterjee, head of training, AIG India, who makes the above observation, says that being realistic in your expectations from the organisation – in terms of monetary and other benefits is vital. Chatterjee concludes, “I would encourage employees not to resort to negativity. That is the first thing that hits everyone. If you manage to stay positive that will solve a lot of issues. Also, do not stop communicating; silence and ambiguity can be killing; talk to people, gather information, process them objectively and act positively.”
Nick Cox, MD, Hays Continental Europe & Rest of World, gives some quick pointers on recession-proofing your careers in the present economic environment:
How job seekers can recession-proof their careers:
Learn new skills for areas where there are still skill shortages and vacancies.
Equip yourself with transferable skills:
Clearly identify what these are so that you can demonstrate your adaptability, particularly relevant if considering a move between public and private sectors or vice versa
Prepare effective resumes:
Ensure they are carefully tailored for each role and targeted towards the competencies.
Be flexible: Be prepared to accept a lower salary, a change in location or a wider job remit.
How existing employees can recession-proof their careers:
Upskill: Use all available resources (formal and informal training) to make sure that you have the necessary skills to excel in your job.
Upgrade: This is possible if you initiate discussions with your line manager and discuss career development opportunities.
Network: Use every opportunity to make contacts and learn about new opportunities.
Be proactive: Examine ways in which you can take on extra responsibility and delve into other areas of the organisation to look for opportunities.
Finding Work in the Recession
A summary of an article by Lauren Zander – co-founder and chairman of the Handel Group, a New York executive coaching company, and lecturer on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology course: Designing Your Life.
For the full article, and others, visit: www.businessweek.com
Despite the immense problems that face individuals affected by the recession, the fact is that the rules you have to follow when looking for a job in the middle of a recession are the same as the ones you must follow when times are good, only now you have to be even more disciplined about following them. Here’s how to find that next opportunity:
1. Remember, It’s About Attitude
The most important thing about looking for a job, in any type of economy, is attitude. This is worth repeating: The right attitude is the key ingredient to success in finding your next job.
Every job seeker thinks that as long as they hope they get a job, they will get one. But you have to know you will get a job. It is not enough to go through the motions—redoing your cv-résumé, prepping yourself for interviews, and acting earnest and engaged once you’re before a prospective employer.
More important than all of these actions, though they are important, is attitude. If you only hope you’ll get a job but you are swimming in worry and anxiety, then you will not be as successful. You have to know you are going to get a job. It can be hardest to have a positive attitude after your ego has been dealt the body blow of being made redundant of being dismissed.
But moaning about why it happened, trying to assign blame -while understandable – are a colossal distraction and a waste of time. Complaining has never paid a bill or found someone a job.
2. Set a Routine
Draw up a schedule for yourself, just like you did when you went to work every day – you will feel a lot more empowered. Set a time for when you will be researching new opportunities. Schedule time to call around to your old sources and contacts—both professional and personal. Set a time to read the paper or look online at the news that’s happening in your field so you are up-to-date on trends and issues.
3. Keep Fit and Healthy
Make exercise part of your routine. Exercise is critical, even if it’s just getting out of the house and walking for half an hour. If it’s running or lifting weights or taking a class for an hour, all the better. It is a lot harder to sit around and feel sorry for yourself if you’re not sitting around.
Be religious about your routine. Be very smart about not indulging your vices. This can be a time when people start to drink too much, eat too much, or watch too much TV. You have to be vigilant about the tools you use to make yourself feel better. Don’t indulge in temporary fixes that may ultimately make you feel worse in the long run.
4. Take Advantage of the Time Off
You should be in the best physical shape of your life when you’re out of work – you have the time.
Go out. Do new things. For instance, volunteering really will feel good. And it makes you meet new people. It will make you feel useful—and if in a strategic place or industry – working for a local or national charity for example – it could help you get contacts.
5. Embrace Risk
Wanting a new job and getting a new job are all about embracing risk, and opportunity. Look at the opportunities all around you, rather than the obstacles. Explore opportunities in business sectors and locations that you previously haven’t considered.
6. Get a Mentor or Coach
It can be immensely useful to have access to someone who is going to keep you honest about reaching your goals.
7. Treat Finding a New Job as a Project
Treat finding a new job as an exciting new “project” – for that’s what it is – and manage it exactly as a project should be managed – with goals/objectives, planned, resourced, monitored, adjusted, given as much time and effort as you can.
This is a summary of an article by Alaina Love ~ the president of Purpose Linked Consulting, a leadership and organization development firm. She is co-author of the new McGraw-Hill book, The Purpose Linked Organization: How Passionate Leaders Inspire Winning Teams and Great Results.
For the full article, and others, visit: www.businessweek.com
When looking for a new job, most people pursue every viable lead and interviewing as often as possible, hoping for that breakthrough opportunity. If you’re among the many for whom finding a new job has become a full-time occupation, what might you be missing? What’s the one opportunity you’re letting slip away? If you’re not factoring your passions into your job search, it’s time to start now.
Being unemployed not easy, but it does present an opening for reflecting and designing your best future.
Rather than pursuing a new position merely because it resembles your former job, take time to consider your deep internal drivers, so you can find a role that’s an outlet for all of your best qualities. Make the more than 84,000 hours of your life – 10 hours every day, five days every week – that will be spent on the job both fulfilling and meaningful by pinpointing work aligned with your specific passions.
Here are 10 types of work-related passions that you can consider and explore:
The Creator: With a passion for the aesthetic, Creators work tirelessly to transform a concept they hold in their minds into a form that can be shared with others and evoke emotion. These are the artisans of the organization. They manifest their passions by seeking beauty, form, or functionality in whatever they develop.
The Conceiver: Big-picture thinkers who focus on the outside-the-box solution, Conceivers enjoy playing in the space of new and often revolutionary ideas. They are the intellectual acrobats of the organization, the ones others work hard to keep up with. They are rare and valuable innovators.
The Discoverer: Sure that every problem or riddle has a solution, Discoverers enjoy lifting up every rock to determine what’s underneath and will relentlessly design experiments to test their theories until they determine the truth. They are the explorers of the organisation.
The Processor: An archetype that thrives on data and information, the Processor is at home in the world of analysis. Processors uncover information that prevents the organisation from stepping into land mines, while maintaining a steady focus on quality. They are the system stewards.
The Teacher: These are the knowledge promoters of the organisation who enjoy developing others. They are also passionate learners who willingly share new information and insights with their colleagues. Teachers can be relied upon to translate knowledge in ways that make it understandable to others.
The Connector: Consummate communicators and negotiators, Connectors can be counted on to form and nurture relationships. They are invaluable resources when common ground is needed to resolve problems. These are the bridge builders of the organisation.
The Healer: Often the ones to first notice dysfunction, Healers will help others in the organisation navigate through pain to a find a better place. They take personal responsibility for helping others deal with their difficulties and can frequently be found working behind the scenes to create a positive workplace culture.
The Altruist: This archetype often acts as the moral compass of the organisation and will work passionately to serve the higher good. Altruists will challenge the organisation to look beyond profit and contribute to the broader community and society as a whole.
The Transformer: These are the passionate change agents of the organisation. They help others embrace a new direction or vision. Transformers thrive in chaos and ambiguity and will rarely wait for change to happen. Instead, they will orchestrate it, always seeking out new possibilities.
The Builder: As the architects of the organisation, Builders thrive with an ambitious goal and a flat landscape on which to construct their vision. They are excellent at building new business in unchartered territory or “boldly going where no one has gone before.” Builders will develop the blueprint for the organisation’s success, but they require immense freedom to deliver results—on which their eyes remain clearly and unerringly focused.
Understanding your unique passions offers a new and more complete language with which to describe yourself to prospective employers. Incorporate a description of your passions in a compelling and well-written cover letter or resume, detailing the impact those passions have had on achieving results. It will help your application stand out among the hundreds of others under review. It’s also important to examine each potential new position for the opportunities it might provide for using your passions to enhance results in a way that skills alone can’t deliver. During the interview process, ask questions that will allow you to discover how both your skills and passions might be applied in the job. In situational questions, where the interviewer may ask how you’ve successfully applied your skills in past positions, find ways to weave your passions into responses. Highlight how your skills have led to results, of course, but remember to reveal how your passions have provided an edge.
In this highly competitive job market, having the right skills will get your foot in the door. Adding genuine passion to the mix will earn you a well-deserved seat at the table.
So remember passion sells!
Given the content of this month’s newsletter it is difficult to suggest a particular course or qualification, but we would suggest that you browse through the categories and look closely at the descriptions of each individual course, and who it is aimed at – most suitable for.
Ultimately, any course or qualification that is recognised in your current or planned business sector, and is relevant to your age, experience, and recent roles and responsibilities, will be worth considering.
However, referring to what is the main message in many of this newsletter’s articles, also consider each course in the light of what will be of most use to you in the near to medium term future.
Details of our courses, please visit www.brightonsbm.com/coursesoverview.htm
Study Resources of the Month
As this issue is directly linked to Professional and Career Development and Change,here are some recommendations related to that topic:
Skills Development for Business and Management Students
Gallagher, Keith. Publisher: OUP Oxford
Fifty Lessons Writers – Managing Your Career
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Skills for Success: The Personal Development Planning Handbook
Cottrell, Stella. Publisher: Palgrave Skills
Second Chance: How Career Changers Can Find a Great Job
Ghilani, Mary. Publisher: Praeger
On our website we now have a direct link to the Amazon Management Books section, to use this go to our Study Bookshops page.
Student Recommended Resources
http://downloads.techrepublic.com.com I’m not in IT but still found this site really useful for professional development advice ,our thanks to Barry
www.about.com/careers/,many useful articles about just about all to do with career development, our thanks to Ahmed
Advice from the Gurus
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself”
“Achievers – whether in business, sports, or the arts – are committed to continual improvement”
both by Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles
“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home”
Betty Bender, thinker, writer, author
Useful Study Links
Each of the websites listed here have a range of articles, reports, case studies, discussions, best practice checklists, and links to other sites:
information on the Investors in People staff development quality system
information, guidance, advice, on all things workplace related
many sections on professional development issues
well established and respected personal development blog
advice, guidance, hints, tips, on career development
career and personal development advice in human resources pages
Comprehensive coverage of most business and management topics.
Huge range of articles on management models, theories, concepts, approaches.
Advice, tips, articles, on managing effectively, and happily!
Huge range of articles on management models, theories, concepts, approaches.