Change Happens

“The script of your life is not yet written.  Life changes, and you change with it.” – Michael J. Fox

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear Michael J. Fox speak to over 10,000 HR representatives from across the globe.  He shared his wisdom and told a great story.  I remember him as Marty McFly, the kid that teamed up with Christopher Lloyd to travel Back to the Future (and 2 more times after that.)  Michael shared that one of the most valuable life lessons he has learned from a career of acting is not to play the result; that is, you can’t act as if you know what’s coming, as if you know how the scene is going to end.  You have to behave as if you don’t know what’s going to happen.  You have to live in that moment.

Change, and as Fox states, “don’t play the result” is really about possibilities.  The outcome of your life is uncertain.  So, why is it critical for leaders and managers to be successful at organizational change?  According to a recent article in Harvard Business Review, it’s because it’s our job.  But we have to change for a reason, and not for the sake of change.  We’re all beginning to realize that “business as usual” simply isn’t enough anymore.  As a job seeker, employee, leader or manager, we should expect change.

What’s changing in the jobs landscape?  Here are a couple things that are changing:

  • How job seekers are researching and connecting with potential employers.  With social networking in its heyday, everyone is trying to figure out how to use the available platforms in the job search.  LinkedIn, Twitter, even Facebook (check out Monster’s BeKnown app and competitor, BranchOut) are being used to connect with recruiters, brands (research), and engage in conversation around a shared interest.  There are mixed emotions here and like anything other tool, it’s all about what makes the most sense for you, the user.
  • How employers are marketing themselves to potential employees.  I covered this in a roundabout way in the first bullet, but employers are looking for new ways to tell their story.  Whether it’s using all the technology available like QR codes, video, social recruiting and blogging or keeping things old school (which is actually refreshing these days) with word-of-mouth campaigns and traditional networking, the way companies connect with the consumer (you) is changing. 

Why?  I think it comes down to a few factors:

  • Attention spans are much shorter.  If we can’t find the information we’re looking for in 3-5 clicks on a company website, we’re out.  We (and not just this newfangled Generation Y) have more responsibility and less time and resources.  We’re all competing for time and attention.
  • People have more information available than ever before.  I remember (and I’m not old) when I had to look something up, the process included several weighty books (encyclopedias/dictionaries, not Wikipedia) and the Dewey decimal system.  Some of you may be thinking, “What the heck is that?”  Believe me; it has nothing to do with Donald Duck’s nephew.  People today have the wealth of the world’s knowledge available to them at the command of one word:  Google.
  • The definition of talent has changed.  Gone are the days where a basic college degree set you apart from the competition.  This recent class of college graduates entered (if they were lucky) the workforce as unemployment rates soared at 9.3%.  Today, employers are seeking talent with strong analytical (may also be described as “critical thinking” skills), business acumen, communication, leadership skills and look for those candidates that can actually articulate their experience.  Minimum qualifications aren’t enough anymore.  I’m not saying a degree in Business Administration won’t get you hired.  It could.  It happens every day.  But, what sets you apart from the competition?  What skills will you bring to the organization that no one else can?
  • It’s where the people are.  Have you ever heard the phrase, “fish where the fish are?”  When there is a large amount of people on a particular platform, using a particular tool, employers gravitate toward that pool.  It might be a talent pool.  It might be a consumer pool, or both.  As I stated before, change must be intentional.  Why are you changing strategy?  Should you?

I thought a lot about what to write about this week.  Last week, I mentioned that I would share with you the wisdom of Fox, one of the keynote speakers for the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Annual Conference.  I think we got that covered and hopefully you are able to pull some useful information from this post.  Change is inevitable.  It’s actually the only constant.  Let’s change together and make a positive difference in the job seeker and candidate recruitment process.

I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote:

“Change is the essence of life.  Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”


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