I recently spoke with a B2B publishing expert. Her predicament is similar to the challenge facing some VARs and solutions providers: She knows her industry cold, as well as the suppliers and the entire value chain. But she asks a good question: so what? Are the skills relevant to the future economy? Let’s be conservative and say no. But her knowledge can be turned into something very valuable. If I were coaching this person, I’d ask her to consider these suggestions:
Five Steps to Reinventing Yourself
- Make a list of every influential business contact you have around the world.
- Make contact with the people on the list with whom you have the best relationships and ask them some questions to find out what they feel about the short- and medium-term future. What are their companies doing to re-tool for the next 1-3 years? How are they personally preparing in their respective roles? And most importantly, what products and services will they need in the future that they do not currently have or know where to find?
- Map out the B2B information value-chain from producer to consumer, creating two views: where it is today and where it will be in three years. (They may include different players, there could be massive attrition and consolidation and the roles that companies have played traditionally may change, so be creative.) Where are you on the spectrum? Where is your company? Where would you like to be?
- Make a bet in the next three months on where the next three years are going and adjust your career strategy accordingly. You may need more education and different kinds of relationships to become an expert in a new aspect of the value chain.
- The age factor: My colleague is in her fifties and is worried about age discrimination. There is no short answer to dealing with this one because it is all a state of mind. If you feel your best days are behind you, who am I to argue? Think long and hard about what you control and maximize it. And ignore what you don’t control.