In either case, pay attention to trends. What’s happening in the world around you will likely hit home. Read blogs, go to professional meetings, read e-zines and other industry news sources. Talk with people from the other side of the desk to get their perspectives.
This means taking your knowledge and putting it into context with other things that are going on in the world. Take what you find and spot opportunities and potential problems that you can help resolve.
Don’t get blindsided by organizational changes. Look at how the economy, changing laws and regulations will influence your organization. These often translate into budget cuts and windfalls or changes in the business’ legal environment. In many cases, these are opportunities to be more efficient and innovative.
Among the trends: Mobile apps and smartphones have nearly replaced laptop computers. Technology and cybersecurity change daily.
How can you leverage these things in your job and development?
Moreover, the weather and other environmental changes are affecting not only what we do but also how and where we work. Our dynamic demographics are creating new opportunities in health care, housing, transportation, education and leisure activities.
Host a discussion on how these trends affect your organization. What skills and knowledge do you have to address these issues?
Consider the potential effect of those trends on your profession and lifestyle. Play around with some scenarios and simulations. Imagine how you can make a difference by paying attention.
R. Anne Hull is the president of Hull Strategies, a business management consultant in Laurel, Maryland. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.