Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The only thing you need to know about career development


Career planning is a delusion created by wishful thinking. The idea that an individual can precisely steer his way from job to job in a rapidly changing society is unrealistic. Instead, a man should have long-term goals and let his career develop according to market opportunities.

If you keep your eyes fixed on a point in the horizon, chances are that you will overlook possibilities that arise in your immediate environment. Rationality demands having a long-term vision, but implementation details should be modified to fit current opportunities.

Have you ever wondered why indifference is the usual reaction to innovation? Is it not amazing that potential customers, who would be so well served by a new service, are not even willing to listen to a sales pitch? The world is barren land for dreamers, but an endless source of opportunities for problem-solvers. Conventional wisdom preaches that where there is a will, is a way. Possibly, but who wants to walk a path leading to constant disappointment?

If you are about to start a new venture, please remind yourself of the fact that there are 70% chances that you won't survive beyond the fifth year. Some markets show even higher failure rates for new products or services, as it is the case of packaged foods, soda drinks, and restaurants.

Statistics tell us how hard it is to attain business success. The same level of difficulty applies to career planning. Is there a way to predict if a new service is destined to be buried by consumer indifference? How can we ensure that we only launch products that have a reasonable good chance? What strategy maximizes our probability of having a satisfactory career?

The answer is to discard the myth of perfect planning at the same time that we avoid random moves. Never put all your business resources into making new stuff and throwing it blindly into the market. Never concentrate all your career expectations on one single path. In those cases, hoping for the best is bound to reveal itself as an expensive delusion.

History has repeatedly proven that new undertakings enjoy the best prospects of success when they are aligned with strong demand in the market. Such demand is frequently shown through factors such as annoyance, dissatisfaction, and misery.

The ideal business or career situation consists of serving customers who are deeply annoyed by a problem. Take away your eyes from rigid career objectives and look at the world as an entrepreneur. Ask yourself who is dissatisfied with existing solutions and see if you can propose something better. Find a distribution system that is miserably under-utilized and figure out how to improve it.

Hitting trouble spots doesn't guarantee commercial or career success, but it is as close as you can get. Instead of making unrealistic plans, seek out fields of activity where annoyance has become apparent. The angrier the potential customers, the more receptive they will be to new solutions. Do you remember the irritation at airport check-in lines before the adoption of electronic ticketing?

When you detect dissatisfaction in the market, take good note. The more inefficient the current solution, the higher the value that you can add. Commercial and career success are all about adding value. Do you remember that, not so long ago, it was impossible to deliver packages overnight?

Remember that inefficient distribution systems may also offer extraordinary opportunity. The less profitable the current method, the more avidly it will embrace innovation. Thousands of retail locations have seen their value doubled thanks to fast-food franchises. Discard the myth of career planning and, instead, see if you can see solve a burning problem. Those who prove able to alleviate long-standing pain can attract enthusiastic customers.

Accepting reality can be a difficult undertaking. Maybe for that reason, Nature has endowed us with two eyes and two ears to perceive the world and only one mouth to contradict ourselves. Stick to your strategy, but shun rigid plans that might prevent you from taking swift action when unexpected possibilities arise.

Your long-term goals should be broad enough to allow you to move forward in good or bad markets. Abandon the myth of strict planning and the expectation that you should reach a specific career goal before you reach a particular age. You are a unique human being and so is your situation. From time to time, luck may offer you the chance of rapid advancement. When such opportunity comes up, seize it.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by corrieb under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]