Applying Disruption Theory to futureproof your career
When Jo was finally laid off from her company she had no idea what she wanted to do next. In her role as HR Manager, she was jaded and exhausted by the experience of having let many people go only to find herself being made redundant.
Fast forward 2 years. Jo now has successfully pivoted her career in an allied area of HR, and is full of vim, vigour, and is perceived as a real go-to expert in her new field.
She ‘disrupted’ her career and is on a trajectory sharper than she had been on before.
Made famous by Clay Christensen, Disruption Theory addresses how a low cost or smaller industry entrant gains traction in a market and grows to dominance over time.
Whitney Johnson is a leader in the field of disruption. She applied Disruption Theory to her own career when she moved from being a Secretary for a retail sales broker to work as an Analyst with a major Wall Street investment bank. That move might have been big enough for most, but she disrupted it again from being a leading Cement and Construction Analyst to morphing in to becoming a leading Media Analyst.
How could you disrupt your career?
In short, it takes forethought and proactivity.
1. Develop your capability before you need it.
Almost every profession and industry has experienced some form of disruption.
Take the example of advertising and media agencies. There is a slowdown in demand for traditional media buyers, but there has been an acceleration in opportunities for people with social media expertise.
- Have you noticed that functions are being replaced by technology, or are being outsourced or offshored?
- Have you noticed certain job functions plateauing with little career progression being made by people in those functions?
- Conversely, have you noticed that there are job functions where people are progressing and careers are accelerating?
Answers to these provide clues for you to proactively develop new capability before you might need and therefore futureproof your career.
2. Take on a role in a low-end area which allows you to develop capability in another.
Several years ago, Larry was a mid-level manager who enjoyed helping people perform better. Outside of work, he also enjoyed coaching a junior football team. When his employer rolled out an internal coaching and mentoring program, he jumped at the opportunity to volunteer his time. He also gained certification in two leadership tools. Today, Larry is a highly experienced coach and mentor and is the leader of Culture and Capability with a large financial institution.
Are you stuck in your career but do not know where you should begin?
Here are 6 tips to help you move forward:
2. Ask what do you do well that others in your profession do not?
3. Ask what are the things that uplift you?
4. Ask whether you are applying these uplifting things day-to-day at work?
5. Ask what frustrates you that you believe you could do better?
6. Ask what compliments you receive from people that you dismiss?
Answers to these questions can help you disrupt your own career and have you develop capability to futureproof your career.
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