Learn to Thrive in Ambiguity; a Career Skill and an Essential Life Skill

In today’s workplace the ability to manage ambiguity and operate effectively in a forever changing environment is critical. As a Head Hunter, this theme is discussed as a critical competency requirement in virtually every mandate that we take on.

Companies do not create change without good reason but so often the pursuit of the right strategy requires change, to the extent that it can feel like change is permanent.

There are many positives in the dimension of change for human and team performance. We only begin to reach our potential when we put ourselves in a position when we can really be tested. Change can do this, especially when we can set our minds to embrace the challenge and learn to thrive on it. Excess predictability will breed staleness and an overall lowering of pace. When that decline sets in, in any group or team, it can be hard to change. If it is recognised too late, it is game over.

As John F Kennedy said: “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.”

Building a business requires a pace and momentum alongside a need to stretch yourself and the people around you. In my opinion this is one of the central components of leadership.

The balance between pressure and creating an environment that can thrive in these dynamics is a fascinating one. My experience is that when good people are being pushed too far they will let you know. If nobody ever tells you that they are under pressure then arguably you should be worried. You are not pushing hard enough.

What is certain is that these are skills that we need to develop in today’s working environments. The sooner you develop them the better. The huge upside is that these skills contribute to our lives. A mindset that is based around challenging ourselves, learning about our boundaries and being able to thrive under pressure can only improve our ability to contribute and express ourselves.

The more that we can embrace this and incorporate this in to who we are, the more engaged we become. Through this, we can shift away from the dialogue of work-life balance and begin to see that work contributes and is a part of who we are.

The Essential Skills of Job Change

I was lucky enough to spend some time with Anita Hoffmann in May, discussing the concept of job-crafting. I was struck by the differentiation between ‘job change’ and ‘career change’ and how uncomfortable we can find these processes. In a job change, we have some familiarity with the direction and environment, whereas in a career change we do not. As Anita says, we want predictability but with any form of change, this is often not the case.

There is no doubt that job-crafting is an essential skill for career change. At the same time it is also very clear that we must not lose focus of how we are actively managing our current careers in anticipation of an unexpected job change.

In my opinion, the process of finding a new job at the senior level is actually getting more difficult. The natural tendency is to assume that increased visibility with search engines, networking sites, forums etc. will make it will more straightforward. Unfortunately, it is not the case.

It is therefore critical that we are building our networks, relationships and knowledge in an intentional way. This requires a level of clarity regarding the direction that you are looking to travel in and an understanding of the people around you who could play a part in your journey.

I am not suggesting that people need total clarity of their career road map. Things change and we have to be able to adapt. However, without a requisite level of clarity you will not be able to engage effectively and intentionally with the people who can shape and contribute to your growth and ultimately your career.

Getting clear on your own vision and being intentional about how you are working towards this are the integral components to owning your career.

Anita spoke brilliantly about the concept of job-crafting and what is required. The importance of building these skills and networks over time is integral to the success of the job-crafting process. In the same way, if we are not consciously taking some level of ongoing action then we are likely missing opportunities whilst potentially leaving ourselves exposed if we find ourselves in a situation of job change.

By engaging with your own vision and taking intentional action regularly, you can meaningfully impact your relationship with opportunity.

On Wednesday 11th July at 14:00 UK time, Anita will be joining us to discuss her new book – “Purpose and Impact: How Executives are Creating Meaningful Second Careers”. For more information and to join us please follow the link below.

https://www.miramar.global/news/webinar-executives-careers