How NOT to Become Obsolete as your Organization Changes!

By Janice Krupic, CEO, Paragon Leadership                                           

There is a new CEO, executive team, organization structure, acquisition, divestiture, product, customer base, geographic footprint and/or technology.  With a blink of an eye, your organization has changed, but have you?

During the many years of working with senior leaders and executives, all too often I have experienced one or several of the following scenarios with my clients. If you can relate to any of these, I encourage you to stop, reflect and read the following tips so you don’t find yourself in a position of being obsolete or irrelevant to your organization.

“People can be divided into three groups:  Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.”

Risks of Becoming Obsolete 

It isn’t just the speed of change, but also the lack of predictability and disruption that adds to the chaos and complexity for leaders.  SAP News Center reports on a survey by Oxford Economics, employees’ top concern is that their position might change or become obsolete. Half believe their current skills won’t be needed in three years.  Is technology changing at a faster rate than you can keep up? Newly hired colleagues seem like experts with the new technology and are quick learners.

Your customer base is changing, but your relationships are with the former customer base or key clients.  You begin to see the impact as sales quotas, revenues, or other financial targets continue to suffer.

You pride yourself in establishing and maintaining strong relationships in the organization, including managing up. You look around and many of your key relationships are no longer with the organization or in influential roles.

The culture of your organization has changed due to a recent series of acquisitions (or divestitures). You have not been involved in such transactions and, therefore, find yourself lost in the changing culture.

Tips to Avoid Becoming Obsolete

  • Learn and Keep Up with Changing Technology

Be proactive and look ahead to changing technology being adapted or likely to be adapted soon. Pick one area of technology or new skill to develop to help you stay relevant. You don’t need to be an expert, but rather know enough so you can speak to and be knowledgeable about the technology changes occurring. Continuous Learning knows no age.

  • Develop Relationships New to the Organization 

Just as skillsets change and evolve, so do relationships. Be authentic- don’t wait for permission – do it because you want to, not because you have to. Focus on developing the relationship, not because you want or need something. Use a tool such as the Paragon’s Career 9-Box.pdf  to help you build a strategy to develop new and enhance former relationships.

  • Focus on Your Strengths 

What is it that you do well and how can you continue to cultivate these skills in support of the ‘new’ organization?  Pick one or two to focus on. If you don’t know what these are, enlist the support of others or colleagues within the organization who know you well and will be honest with their feedback, engage in formal or informal– using either validated tool or through stakeholder interviews. Paragon executive coaching offerings , Paragon career development offerings

  • Be Honest with Yourself

If any of the tips above feel like too much work, and do not fuel your tank at the end of the day, be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Is the new organization/culture right for me?”  No one wins a badge of courage by sticking with a role or organization that is not the right fit and makes them miserable. The winners at the end of the day are those who are truthful with themselves and have the courage to make a change. Not only will the organization thank you, you will thank yourself.  Too afraid to make the change? Enlist in a trusting resource, external or internal to your organization, who can coach you through the process.  Paragon role-transition coaching offerings; Paragon career development offerings

To receive a free copy of a reusable “Career 9- Box Tool”, Contact us at Paragon Leadership

Paragon Leadership International is a leading executive coaching firm supporting the development of the future face of leadership.