Entrepreneurship – an essential career management skill.

surfing freedom

The surfer looks for opportunities, develops his or her skills, is flexible, takes risks and is resilient. These are the same entrepreneurial competencies required in any highly changeable environment.

The old career development notions of stable employment and rising up the career ladder are no longer valid. That environment has gone – ended! These days we are personally responsible for renewing and revitalising our career status and job satisfaction.  Although proactive career management has been necessary for a long time it doesn’t come naturally for many. There are still individuals who expect their employers to determine their development and next career steps for them.  Unfortunately they will not.

We hear the recurring refrain that organisations want a flexible workforce to respond to the rapidly changing marketplace.  This has changed the employment relationship to being one of performance, accountability and all parties look after themselves and their interests.  Whether this is ‘right’ or not, according to your own philosophy, it is what is happening.  Looking after your own career is your responsibility.

Self-driven career management and a healthy attitude towards lifelong learning are necessary for today’s environment. The best employers create a career development ecosystem where performance and career development are interlinked and systems work in favour of both the business and the employee. Employers tend to respond positively to employees who drive their own development, however the majority of employees are not clear about where their careers could lead, nor have they determined any clear career goals and objectives.

In 2010 I authored an article for The New Zealand Herald employment feature which lists the competencies required for this new environment. One of those listed is ethical entrepreneurship. This is not only about being in business but it is also about being ethical and honest in the way that we promote ourselves and manage our careers – our reputation depends on it.

It is clear, that today’s work environment requires a degree of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship has a wide-ranging definition and application. It is very closely aligned to the word “protean” which comes from the Mythical Greek Sea God “Proteus,” who was known for predicting and foretelling the future and his versatility and adaptability to acclimatise himself to successfully meet and thrive in the future he envisioned.  Just as it is in surfing.

Kaye Avery

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