The connection economy, the economy we are now living in has levelled the competitive playing field and into an economy that creates disruption, removes barriers to entry and puts the customer at the centre of the conversation and indeed the organisation.
For the individual, the connection economy is about empowering us to create our own opportunities within an online culture that provides a platform for us all to be unique. In a book entitled, “You are not a Gadget“, (and highly recommended) author Jaron Lanier challenges us all to consider specific goals in embracing the connected economy:
- If you put effort into Wikipedia articles, put even more effort into using your personal voice and expression to help attract people who don’t yet realise they are interested in the topics you contribute to
- Create a website that expresses something about who you are what does not fit into the template available to you
- Write a blog post that took weeks of reflection before you heard the inner voice that needed to come out
- If you are twittering, innovate in order to find a way to describe your internal state instead of trivial external events
Mitch Joel, author of Ctrl Al Delete assesses this new dawn and what it means to individuals in order to survive, adapt and embrace the new world of the connected economy and more importantly, how to re-position your lifestyle in his brilliant book.
1) You are about to Lose your job – The mindset many people grapple with is the anxiety of losing your job. Those that wish to follow a list of instructions, like to keep their head down and don’t wish to disrupt or not question authority are perhaps creating themselves a route to become unemployable in this new digital age…the alternative? It’s time to change your outlook and embrace a mindset of acting like a start-up organisation
2) Look to the edges – Don’t wait for permission from your line manager or an instruction manual to be told what to do next in the workplace, take the initiative and ask yourself what is the company I am working for not doing that perhaps I could be creating value? Where could I provide an opportunity that the organisation has not yet discovered and provide added value?
3) Invest in yourself – You should be assessing whether the job you’re doing is really going to be still in demand in the next 5 to 10 years? Could it be automated? Will there be a need for this? What you should not be afraid of is to re-skill, to adapt to a new career path that may mean a drop in salary but it will mean an opportunity to become indispensable.
4) Align with the right people – As you create your start-up mindset, ensure you’re connecting with the people that are re-defining new ways to do business, that provide inspiration and empowerment and offer support and encouragement to you. Look to surround yourself with like-minded individuals also willing to embrace new opportunities.
5) Embrace your squiggle – It’s an assumption made by people that changing jobs and switching industries is a reckless way to manage your career – What we should be doing is embracing this and building on following our instincts. Don’t stand still, understand what is successful and embrace it and don’t be afraid to change career or job – what you’re told in school was how to succeed in an industrial revolution mindset – thankfully that’s now obsolete and if you’re in need of some inspiration watch this fantastic TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson on creativity
Where once the skills required were to keep your head down, follow an instruction manual and not to ask questions, thankfully these are being replaced by skills such as taking the initiative, taking the lead and not afraid to try new opportunities. The connection economy offers us all that there is an alternative to having to follow the tribe and there is an opportunity to find our own path and our own voice.