3 Rules for Success in the New World of Work

Surveys report different numbers but the picture is the same, anywhere from 25% to 50% of employees are unhappy at their job and many want to leave. (Forbes article and Conference Board survey results).

Being successful at work both as employee and owner takes different skills in today's world of workAdd to this statistic that 47% of kids now in college are not finishing with a degree and 50% of those that do graduate with a degree are underemployed or unemployed.  The picture is bleak for those entering the workforce now.

Rules for Success

I attended a presentation recently on Rules for Success in Education by ACT’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Director David Cumberbatch. Yes, this is the same ACT organization that administers college entrance assessments.

David spoke on skills students need for future success in college and ultimately the workplace.

What stood out for me was the new mindset taking hold for students and employees.  Being okay at what you do no longer cuts it.  You need to be competitive and top in what you do.  Having a degree no longer translates to the job security it once held.

I am not saying college is not a worthy investment, just that thinking now needs to go beyond education and extend into workplace skills that are in high demand.

This is the same if you are an entrepreneur running your own business.  Having a degree is important, but it is not a guarantee for success in the marketplace.

Success either as an employee or small business is being more and more shaped by the intersection of three major factors

  1. Being great
  2. Meeting a marketplace need
  3. Standing out

Being Great

Hard work is not going to any longer keep you employed.  Nor will working long hours bring in customers.  You have to be super power great at what you do and means leveraging your  talent.

Remember the rule of 10,000 hours?  That is Olympic-like greatness mastery of a skill or 20 hours a week for 10 years.   Don’t panic if you aren’t here yet.  The idea is to be working fervently to become super great at what you offer.

Meeting a Marketplace Need

You can have herculean-like talents, but still be jobless if there is no demand for those skills.  Same is true for small business owners.  You must serve others where there is a need, a problem you solve, or a highly sought after joy you provide.  Every business owner needs to bring in income in order to exist.

Finding something you can do that is in demand sounds really simple, but at the moment, the marketplace is flooded with people with skills that are not needed.  And sadly, there are jobs that can’t be filled because employers can’t find people with the right skills to fill them.

And thousands of businesses open both online and offline that have to close their doors in one year or less often because they were unable to reach a market that desired or wanted their services in large enough numbers to bring in sufficient income.

Standing Out

Getting acknowledged for the positive contributions you make is key in today’s world of work.  It used to be you sat down twice a year with your supervisor for your performance evaluation and list out your achievements and set goals for the next 6 months.

Today, you must go beyond the out-dated model of catering only to your boss and instead become known for the great work you contribute among your peers and your ideal target market.

This standing out is not self promotion but about helping others be successful.  Once you get results, immediately document your achievements, ask for recommendations, repurpose it in the social media realm – get acknowledged.  No waiting for recording in your HR file twice a year and collect dust.