In our three-part series this week on The End of Competitive Advantage, we described the reality facing many companies in industries where the concept of a sustainable competitive advantage has went the way of the dodo. We also noted that for these companies to survive, they had to learn to adapt to a new model where they competed in arenas, built up and tore down opportunity teams as the need arose, and gave up on the classical idea of persistent organizational structure. However, what we didn’t note was what it meant for you.
The last chapter of Rita Gunther McGrath’s book addressed the issue of what transient advantage means for you, personally, and it’s probably the most important chapter of the book for those of you where your working world is turning upside down.
What it means for you is that if you cannot adapt, you are vulnerable to losing not only your job, but your livelihood as your job might disappear. It happens. When was the last time you saw an elevator operator OUTSIDE of a classic-era hollywood movie? In order to help you figure out if you are vulnerable, and your level of vulnerability, the chapter presents you with 10 questions. If you answer no to any of them, you have some degree of vulnerability. If you answer no to five or more, look out – as the times they are a-changin’ for you!
If my current employer let me go, it would be relatively easy for me to find a similar role in another organization for equivalent compensation.
If the demand for your job is shrinking, then it might be the market is shrinking, or going away entirely, like the demand for physical film.
If I lost my job today, I am well prepared and know immediately what I would do next.
Even if you’re in the perfect job, are secure in that job, and have nothing to fear – disruptive innovations that eliminate entire industries pop up more often than you think.
I’ve worked in some meaningful capacity with at least five different organizations within the last two years.
This doesn’t have to be five different companies, but could be five different departments in your company. Adaptability is key.
I’ve learned a meaningful new skill that I didn’t have before in the last two years, whether it is work related or not.
The world is changing faster and faster and data is being produced at an unparalleled rate. A recent EMC study projects a nearly 45-Fold annual data growth rate by 2020. If you are not attempting to keep up, you will not keep up.
I’ve attended a course or training program within the last two years, either in person or virtually.
Training and education can expedite your learning process.
I could name, off the top of my head, at least ten people who would be good leads for new opportunities.
Networking is more than making, and poking, friends on Facebook.
I actively engage with at least two professional or personal networks.
Just like sole source is a recipe for supply chain disaster, a single focus could trap you in a dead-end network.
I have enough resources that I could take the time to retrain, work for a small salary, or volunteer in order to get access to a new opportunity.
Given the average amount of time to find a new job today, you should have a six month buffer. Just in case.
I can make income from a variety of activities, not just my salary.
If salaries are going away, you better have other options.
I am able to relocate or travel to find new opportunities.
You may not have to relocate permanently, but it’s a dynamic, shifting world, migrating to not just cities, but mega regions. As Richard Florida noted in Who’s Your City, talent, innovation, and creativity — are not distributed evenly across the global economy. They concentrate in specific locations. You may need to be there, at least for a time.
Now, if you answered yes to all ten (10) of these, and you aren’t already working in Supply Management – you should be, as this fits the profile of a go-getter up-and-coming Supply Management Professional. Source on!