14 years, 4 months ago

More than trends

A colleague at Microsoft, J.D.Meier, recently wrote a blog post about the major trends to watch for in 2010. Rather than creating just a new list he’s provided all the source material references which make it ideal to use for personal research and to take a unique filter for your own organization.

What really struck me in reading this was the last section, which is less about trends and really about what each of us needs to consider to be relevant and at our most effective in the coming decade and I’ve repeated it here:

  • Build a firm foundation.  Know Maslow’s hierarchy and prioritize taking care of your basic needs.  Know your “monthly burn” and be mindful of your decisions to support your firm foundation.  The stronger your foundation is, the more you can help yourself and others when they need it most.
  • If it doesn’t help you be your best, cut it out.   This means living your values, and playing to your strengths.  It also means giving your best where you have your best to give, as a person, and as a company.  It’s how your survive, and it’s how you go from surviving to thriving.   Any other way drains you in the long run and you get priced or pushed or competed out of the market.  It’s the sustainable path. 
  • Follow the growth.  Follow your own growth, and follow the growth in the market.  For example, in the tech industry some growth areas are mobile and cloud.  Along these lines, create the growth.
  • Get back to the basics.  Practice the fundamentals.  They work.  Among the chaos, there are always core principles, patterns, and practices that you can bank on.
  • Hone your personal brand.  Make the most of what you’ve got and make sure your differentiation is obvious.  For example, one of my differentiators is “getting results.”
  • Invest in yourself.  Inner-engineering always pays off.
  • It’s your network and what you know.  People sort and sift through people they know.  In a skills-for-hire economy, your network is how you find the opportunities. 
  • Know the cycles of things.  For example, know the Four Stages of Market Maturity, the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, and the Diffusion of Innovations.
  • Lead yourself from the inside out.   Follow your values, play to your strengths, and follow your purpose.  It’s the sustainable path.
  • Learn and respond.  Your ability to learn and respond will drive your best results.  Innovate in your process and your product.
  • Look ahead.  Build your anticipation skills.  Know the system.  Things don’t just happen.  The more you know the system and the ecosystem, the more you can anticipate what’s coming down the line.  Pay attention to market leaders, trend setters, patterns, and cycles.  Everything happens in cycles whether it’s growth or decline.

All too often we have work commitments and development plans that are focused on the near-term, possibly as short as the next quarter. But as we see continuous change becoming the new normal I thought these were fine words to reflect on, and practical steps for how we should think about surviving the long term.