Are You still up to date?
The question can also be—Are you still qualified to do your job? Harsh question right? After all who am I to ask you out there whether you’re qualified to do the work you do? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to offend, but I found myself pondering the legitimacy of the question.
Recently I was stuck in a hospital waiting room, but rather than only having glossy tabloid . . . mind numbing magazines on offer, I had choices of real estate and mountain biking mags!
Now in a previous life I used to be a mountain biking buff, until life kicked in, so I thought I’d have a flip through and see what the sport was doing.
What I saw was surprising for two reasons. Firstly the sport that I used to be so obsessed with had changed so much. What I used to consider an “extreme” sport, was now entry level. The discipline I loved most had since become a gravity defying, technical sport where sheer cliff faces and gaping chasms where simply something to pause, ponder and dominate.
Years ago, they meant turning around and going home.
The second reason was this—I had paused my interest in the sport. I had left and gone away and when I turned around to look back everything had changed.
I had been left behind.
Here’s the real issue at the centre of this topic. Whatever it is that you do—you can’t afford to stop if you want to remain at the top of your game.
World known leaders will often say that they spend most of their time reading and staying up to date on information & developments within their field. It makes sense to need to spend this much time keeping current and maintaining a wider awareness so that you can keep some sense of personal direction on what it is that you do and what you’re good at.
The real danger is when you get too bogged down in what you do to keep an eye out on what the other players in your market are doing. Even if you have no competition out there, you still need to keep an eye out so that you can see new threats coming. Even Uber wasn’t going to stay safe indefinitely.
Educate and innovate.
The world is moving faster—it’s accelerating. As a leader, manager or entrepreneur making sure you’re up to date is one thing, but what about the people you have around you?
Even a graduate nowadays probably won’t be ready to step into most positions offered. Sure they’ll be highly educated on theory and they did really well in exams, but they’re still very coarse. They still need many further stages of work before they’re the finished product that you need them to be.
But the education never stops! Industries evolve, technologies and philosophies keep morphing and changing. A Factory doesn’t just send data up from the machine to the control room anymore.
In the age of IoT all of the connected sensors send information not only up and down but also sideways to other equipment, up to the cloud where its shared by other organizations, and so forth. Despite having everything connected to the Internet today— These (IoT) are constructs that can only be explained at the high level in institutions today but will form core knowledge needs at the heart of a heavy industry tomorrow.
I swear I’m getting to it. As a leader, One of the many responsibilities you’re going to have isn’t just all about motivation and inspiration, but also many levels of situational awareness. What’s going on around you? How are your staff? What are competitors doing? What’s on the horizon?
Now once you know about the answers to these questions, it’s going to be your duty . . . your obligation to communicate those things to the people around you so that you’re all as up to date as you can be. Think of keeping up to date, like updating a bit of software on your computer. It just has to be done!
Staying up to date is critical. Complacency exposes you and those around you to risk, and the longer that you stay still for, the more likely that you will not only be left behind, but that each and every vulnerability around you can not only be more damaging, but potentially fatal.
A favourite philosophy is this.
If you think you’re comfortable, if you think you’re safe, if you think you can rest and relax—you’re wrong. You should always be looking to improve your position. If you’re at the top, make sure you work on staying there.