Price has become the primary tiebreaker for most businesses and brands. Career-minded individuals will need to 'mind their career' if they hope to stay meaningfully employed.
"We are living in a world of abundance."
There are too many choices, channels, content, technology and talent competing for too little time and jobs. Infinite versus finite. Supply drowning demand. Irrelevant compared to relevant and this gap will continue to widen, possibly at exponential rates, as artificial intelligence knocks humans off the organizational chart.
"A race to zero without an airbag"
Many brands are relying on price as the lubricant to move their supply chain, to create an itch with the consumer. However, when price becomes the primary demand creation fuel, most companies find themselves in a race to zero without an airbag.
"Punished and stripped at every turn"
Tighter and tighter margins mean their relevancy, culture, psyche, organization, employee and supplier base are being punished and stripped down at every turn. A nasty gauntlet where the track continues to narrow, and only the fittest and cheapest survive.
Three Ways for Your Career to Survive & Thrive
1. Shift from Provider to Enabler
In this marketplace, there is an abundance of 'un' and underemployed talent and emerging technologies willing to do more and cost less. Margin pressure is hollowing out middle management.
If you just provide a skill, you will be outsourced or at best marginalized. You need to put yourself in a position where you are enabling what matters most to your business. Profit. Play a meaningful role on the revenue creation side of your business. If that isn't possible, then find an equally important role on the cost reduction side.
2. Increase your Value
If you're locked into one area of expertise, 'an inch wide and a mile deep', then make sure your position is immune from outsourcing or being replaced by technology or lower-cost talent where you are highly vulnerable. My advice is to volunteer or fight to get on every significant cross-functional project. The ones where the goal is to deliver faster, better and more efficiently to the customer. A brand can't cut its way to grow, it has to grow its way there with talent that acts upon opportunity.
3. Pick the Winning Car
Your odds for building a career that rewards you intellectually, emotionally and financially dramatically improves if you work for a winner versus a loser. Not everyone can work for Apple or Alphabet, but you can find winners in almost every sector. They are the ones that have great leadership, a collaborative culture, and uncover the insights and create the ideas that allow them to differentiate their offering. These are the companies that you want to work for because they view talent, not price, as their primary tiebreaker.
"Remember - fortune favours the bold"
Fortune does favour the bold. Improve your odds of success by being an enabler to the top line of your business, versus simply being a cost of doing business. Develop cross-functional and collaborative skills and expertise that are valued. Wherever possible work for the winners that exist in every sector.
Only the Public Service has the certainty of jobs and retirement and being backstopped by the taxpayer.
For the rest, and this is abundantly clear, you have no guarantees, and only the fittest will survive.
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