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Skill #4 Reputation Management

Skill #4 Reputation Management

 

Why should you be interested in something like reputation management? Well, like it or not, you already have an online reputation. Don’t believe me? Jump online and Google your name and see what comes up.
 

This is important because?

 
In this digital age, how you appear to the rest of the world can have a huge impact on your ability to make a living.
 
Current estimates are by the year 2020, 50% of the US workforce will be Freelancers or independent contractors (http://bit.ly/2xkEfmi ). Further, futurist Thomas Frey, predicts 47% of existing jobs will disappear by 2030 ( http://bit.ly/2w4whhN ). This means there is a 1 out of 2 chance you will be changing careers in the next 12 years. Where do you think employers go to check out people they are going to hire
 
Consider these statistics from one of Frey’s recent posts (http://bit.ly/2yFqvos )
  •  “80% of divorce lawyers use Facebook to find evidence.
  • 65% of recruiters frown on job seekers who frequently use profanity in social media.
  • 68% of hiring managers have decided to hire a candidate because of something they saw on social media.”

My point is simple. If you know people are going to check you out online, shouldn’t you try to put your best foot forward?

 

Personal Branding

 
Reputation management can also be called personal branding. It began to rise in popularity among corporate executives in the early 2000’s. As more and more people become Freelancers, they are discovering the importance of promoting themselves as a brand. In the new gig economy, you are responsible for directing your own career. Social media gives you the opportunity to do just that.
 

So, How do I do it?

 
If you are a Freelancer (or are thinking about becoming one), the first thing you have to realize is you are the product. So, ask yourself, “What do I want to be known for?”
 
Consider the following:
  • What is your area of expertise?
  • Who do you want to work for? (Your target audience)
  • What type of projects are you interested in?

Once you have answered those questions, you can begin to tell your story. Yes, you have a story. When you go to work for your clients as a Freelancer, you have a unique promise of value you’re going to deliver. That’s what you need to communicate.

 

The Story of You

 
There many channels available to tell your story. Here’s a list of the most popular:
  • FaceBook
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Blog Posting
Depending on which one (or more) of these you choose will depend on your target audience.
 
If you intend to become a recognized expert in your chosen field, blog posting is an excellent way to promote yourself. Blogs come in many varieties and range from free to relatively inexpensive. You can also publish blog posts in a range of other social media platforms using a media manager such as HootSuite.
 
Facebook is another way for you to reach your target audience. FaceBook started out as a way for people to stay in touch with one another. Now it has morphed into a platform you can use to inform and entertain your target audience. A word of caution here. There is a lot of trash on Facebook. You will need to monitor your account daily to remove any questionable posts that may pop up.
 
In my opinion, LinkedIn is the best channel for connecting with other professionals. LinkedIn is based on the idea that by connecting with friends (1st Level) you also have access to friends of friends (2nd Level). You can also join groups with subscribers of similar interests. For instance, I belong to a group called the Personal Branding Network that has over 19,000 members. Now there’s a great target audience.
 
Twitter is also a great way to connect with a target audience. You can also use it to send links to your blog posts, Facebook and LinkedIn posts.
 

In Conclusion

 
Telling the “Story of You” is growing in importance and will continue to grow over the years. Positive management of the way you appear in the online world will be critical to your success. One more thing you need to do is to be consistent. Keep your communications and posts on message for your area of expertise. For instance, if you are an accountant, stick to articles about accounting. Don’t wander off with articles about growing orchids.
 
Above all, start today to manage your personal brand online. Choose how you are going to tell your story. Do it well, and you will reap huge rewards in the future.
 
P.S. I am starting a new website that will teach people about personal branding. If this is a topic you’d like to learn more about, please let me know by posting a comment on this post.
Skill #3 Communication Management.

Skill #3 Communication Management.

Did you know how you manage your communications can affect your mental health?

 

Once long ago, in a land far, far, away, people lived in a simpler world.  There were only 3 TV networks, one or two daily newspapers in your city, and there was only one telephone on a little table in the entrance hall to your home. News broadcasts were two or three times a day, only lasting about 30 minutes including weather, sports, and financial markets.  Who needed something like Communication Management?

 

Fast forward to 2018.

 

Today there is an almost endless list of ways to learn what’s going on and to stay in touch.

  1. 24 hour Cable News channels
  2. Newspapers, both print and online.
  3. Cell phones
  4. Text Messages
  5. Email
  6. Facebook
  7. LinkedIn
  8. Google +
  9. Twitter
  10. Blogs
  11. Podcasts
  12. Instagram
  13. Reddit
  14. Skype
  15. You Tube

And on, and on.

Communication is a necessary part of all our lives and, it’s a highly valued skill.   But, you can have too much or too little.  A 2013 Yankelovich study found the average consumer is bombarded with 5,000 messages a day.  5,000!  On average, the human brain is only able to process 5 to 7 bits of information at one time. Trying to stay up with all the sources available to you can cause stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.

So what happens when your brain receives too much information? Well, a recent Temple University study cited in an article in Entrepreneur Magazine ( http://bit.ly/2qcbl6x ), says when your input reaches the overload level, your prefrontal cortex simply shuts down. In essence, you are unable to make rational decisions past that point.  Keep that up over time, and your mental health suffers as your anxiety levels go through the roof.

Yet the reverse, cutting yourself off from the outside world causes anxiety and stress as well.

 

So, What’s the Answer?

 

Unfortunately, this is something you have to figure out for yourself.   This is a recent phenomenon and one that is not being addressed in our education system.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Only review emails once or twice a day. Pick times in the morning or afternoon that suit your schedule.  Then shut down your email services outside of those times.  This is what I do.
  2. To the extent you can, do the same with phone calls and text messages.  Let incoming calls go to voicemail, then bunch your return calls around the same time each day.  As long as you answer calls and texts the same day they are received, most customers and clients are OK with this.
  3. Limit your news input.  Pick two or three TV news shows and online/print newspapers and let that be it. Review those sources once or twice a day. You won’t miss anything.  In the current news climate, there is a constant, microscopic, never-ending, examination of every event down to who got a parking ticket. It’s almost never one and done.

The point here is for you to put yourself in control of your life by managing how and with whom you communicate. Narrow your focus to those topics that are important to you.  I doubt if you really care if the Volga River floods the town of Astrakhan.  The big plus here too is the amount of time you free up to be doing more productive things.

So pick your sources, limit your exposure, and let the rest of the world go by.

 

Skill #2 Emerging Skills Management

Skill #2 Emerging Skills Management

 

Here is an interesting question. How can you learn the skills for a job that hasn’t been invented?

 

Why would I need to do that?

 

Here’s why. Futurist Thomas Frey estimates 47% of today’s existing jobs will disappear by the year 2030 (http://bit.ly/2w4whhN ). What that means for you is there is a roughly 50-50 chance the job you’re in today will be gone.

When it happens you will face 2 choices:
1. Be pushed aside into a lower paying job well below your skill level.
2. Become expert at skills required in this new economy, and hire yourself out as a Freelancer.

Your challenge today is you can’t afford to wait until your job disappears. When your job goes, it won’t just disappear from the company you work for; it will be gone from the economy. Without a developed skill needed in the new economy, you will fall into category one. And, there you will stay until you acquire those new skills.

 

Won’t there be new jobs coming along?

 

Yes, but…right now, no one knows what they are. Here’s what we do know now.

Robots and improved software technology are replacing people at an ever increasing pace. Robots and software can do predictable, repetitive tasks very quickly, 24 hours a day. What robots can’t do is think. The new jobs coming along will be those that require human judgment.

 

Your Challenge Today.

 

Start thinking today about what you want to do when your present job disappears. Do you want to stay in the same industry? Do you want to do something entirely new? Do you want to be a Freelancer in some area you’ve always been passionate about?

Start thinking about jobs in that field that need some of the following skills:
1. People management
2. Complex Problem Solving
3. Creativity
4. Coordinating with others.
5. Emotional Intelligence.
6. Service Orientation

Get wild here. Use your imagination. Perhaps you can repair robots or find hiccups in software programs. Maybe you could be someone who helps decide what functions could be automated.

It doesn’t have to be that technical. You could become a Freelance journalist, or a copywriter, or an author.

My point here is that whatever you choose, you need to start your education today. Read books. Take courses online. Go to college at night. Do whatever it takes to be ready when the pink slip comes.

The New Reality

 

Here is an inconvenient truth about the economy of the 4th Industrial Revolution. We all must become lifelong learners. Human knowledge is doubling every 13 months and that time frame is getting shorter and shorter. Our education system can’t keep up. So, we are going to have to do it on our own. Here is the good news. Learning new stuff is a lot of fun.

Choose something to learn about. Start now. Then, you’ll be ready to move up and on when the big day comes.

Skill #1 – Distraction Management

Skill #1 – Distraction Management

Thomas Frey in his latest blog ( http://bit.ly/2yFqvos ) states that distraction management is one the 12 personal skills you will need in the future to be successful.  Really?  How did something like distraction management get to be such a big issue?

What has technology done to us?

 

In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone.  This was the first “smart” phone capable of carrying applications other than just phone calls and voice mail.  At the time, it didn’t seem like such a big deal.  Now it seems to have grown into a many-headed, uncontrollable monster.

Smartphones now deliver text messages, email, twitter feeds, Instagram messages, video streams, and instant news updates.  Phone calls and voice mail now are a minor part of the service.

 

Why is this a bad thing?

 

Turns out we are paying more attention to our smartphones and other electronic devices than is good for us.  Frey, in his blog post says, “The average smartphone user checks their phone over 220 times a day.” In addition, “The average Millennial exchanges 67 texts a day. It takes 90 minutes to respond to email, most will respond to a text in less than 90 seconds.”

Here’s another quote from Frey, “An average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes a day perusing these networks.”

What this all adds up to is a state of constant interruption throughout our day.   And…when we are constantly interrupted, our productivity declines. Drastically!

 

But, I’m a Great Multitasker

 

Well…maybe not.  It turns out multitasking is actually bad for you.  I wrote a blog on this some time back ( http://bit.ly/2iSvhoj  ).  In it, I cited studies showing multitasking decreases your productivity by around 40%.  This means it takes much longer for you to complete each individual task.

Further, studies show multitasking increases stress and increases the chances you will make a mistake.  Added to that, it turns out once you’re interrupted it will take about 25 minutes to return to your original task.  http://nyti.ms/2AbTdu6   Talk about ways to waste your day.

 

So, How Can I Fix This?

 

Slow down.  I know this sounds counter-intuitive.  But, if you slow down and concentrate on one task at time, you will actually complete the task faster with fewer mistakes.  Doing this will also increase your productivity because you will complete more tasks in a day,

Couple this with planning your day to control distractions.  Here’s a good list to start with:

  1. Turn off your cell phone. Or, at least, put it on “do not disturb” and stick it in a drawer.  Most calls don’t have to be answered right away.  Set aside time to return calls twice a day.  The same goes for text messages.
  2. Only read emails once or twice a day.  Set aside time to read and respond.
  3. Shut down your internet browser.  Again, pick times to review social media and news sources.
  4. If you are in an environment where there are other people around, find some soothing instrumental music to listen to with earbuds.  Baroque classical or a program that promotes relaxing alpha waves is best.  This shuts out background noise.  Also, if others see you listening to something, it discourages them from interrupting you.

 

In Conclusion

 

These time-consuming distractions will only get worse in the coming months and years.  If you want to increase your productivity and decrease your stress levels, you have to start now to take control of your day and your workflow.

 

12 Skills You Need to Succeed

12 Skills You Need to Succeed

The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us!

 
Traditional jobs are disappearing. Futurist Thomas Frey predicts 47% of current jobs will disappear by 2030 ( http://bit.ly/2w4whhN ). The workforce is shifting toward the predominance of the Entrepreneur and Freelancer.
 
Forbes Magazine has recently predicted 50% of the U.S. Labor force will be Freelancers by the year 2020. That shift won’t stop there.
 
I recently created a series of posts on the 10 critical skills employers will be looking for as these disruptive trends continue ( http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ). If we are truly headed toward a workforce consisting of Freelancers, (full disclosure, I am already there) then most of us, myself included, have a lot of studying to do to acquire these skills.
 
Being a Freelancer is a lot of fun. I have found it’s not really a job, it’s a calling. The body of human knowledge continues to grow at an ever-increasing rate. Current estimates are that it now doubles every 13 months. IBM predicts before long knowledge will double every 12 minutes. As Freelancers, we will be challenged to absorb new information at an ever-increasing rate. To accomplish this, we must learn how to manage ourselves better.
 

How are we going to do that?

 
It turns out our old friend, Thomas Frey, has just released a new post ( http://bit.ly/2yFqvos ). In it, he details the 12 self-management skills we all need to develop to be successful in this brave new world.
 
Here they are:
1. Distraction Management – How many times a day do you check your phone? Social Media? Email?
2. Emerging Skills Management – What new skills will you need to acquire to do your job?
3. Communication Management – What sources do you use to collect information?
4. Reputation Management – As Freelancing becomes the predominant profession, how will you promote yourself
5. Privacy Management – How transparent can you afford to be in the future
6. Information Management – How will you manage your personal information inputs and outputs.
7. Opportunity Management – What will your specialty be? Highly specialized Freelancers can charge higher fees.
8. Technology Management – New tools are coming into existence every day. Which ones will be the most valuable to you?
9. Relationship Management – Social media has changed the very nature of personal relationships. How will you handle this?
10. Legacy Management – This life is so dangerous; no one gets out alive. How do you want to be remembered?
11. Money Management – As we become Freelancers, management of our finances becomes more critical than ever.
12. Time Management – We only get so much. How will you spend it?
 
Over the next few weeks, I will be discussing each of these topics in depth. I will also explore why they are important, and how you can improve your mastery of each skill.
Why Should Work be “Work?”

Why Should Work be “Work?”

I personally believe we have the wrong idea about work. There is a popular concept in this country that “work” is supposed to be something you do to earn money, sustain yourself, support your family, do for a long time, and then retire to a life of leisure. In short, work is a lot of things, but it’s not fun.
 

This Has to Change

 
In my recent series of posts, I discussed why Freelancing is the job of the future. (  http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ). In that post, I listed the 10 skills you will need if you are to succeed in the coming upheaval in the job market.
 
To recap, here they are:
 
1. Complex problem solving
2. Critical Thinking
3. Creativity
4. People management
5. Coordinating with others.
6. Emotional Intelligence
7. Judgment and decision making
8. Service orientation
9. Negotiation
10. Cognitive Flexibility
 
These are all “soft skills” that can be applied no matter what field you work in. But…the one thing I never talked about was what to do.
 
So, here is your challenge for today. What do you want to do? What excites you? What fascinates you? What do you love doing so much, you would do it for free?
 
Got it? Write it down.
 
Here’s the good news. Whatever you love to do, someone will pay you to do it.
 

Having Fun at Work

 
OK. Here’s my next question. If you are doing something you love so much you’d do it for free, are you having fun? You betcha. And, on top of that wouldn’t you want to be the very best at it?
 
Here’s an example. Joseph Campbell was a Professor of Comparative Mythology at Sarah Lawrence College. Now studying Comparative Mythology sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry, right? As Joseph Campbell researched different mythologies, he became convinced of the existence of a “Monomyth.” He believed that all the world’s mythologies and religions were based on this single, original, myth. This same Monomyth could also be used to describe and explain human existence.
 
Campbell began to write about his theories. One of his first books was “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” This one book has influenced generations of writers and filmmakers. George Lucas used it as the basis for the plots in the Stars Wars movies.
 
Campbell’s philosophy of life? “Follow your bliss.”
 
And when you follow your bliss, work isn’t “work” anymore.
 

Lifelong Learning

 
Here’s the catch. Whatever you choose to do, you will need to apply lifelong learning to be the best. You will never get to the point where you “know it all.”
 
Writers read constantly. They do so to see how others ply their trade. Only by studying the masters can they improve themselves.
 
Musicians practice constantly to improve. I once saw an interview with Vladimir Horowitz, the famous concert pianist. In it, he stated that he used to practice 8 hours a day, but since turning 80, he cut it to 6.
 
Most professional athletes spend 6 to 8 hours a day training.
 
Who are the masters of your field? Find out. Study them. How did they get to be the best? How do they stay at the top of their game?
 
Here’s the best news of all. If you really love what you’re doing, this won’t be “work.” It will be fun. Because one of the mysteries of life is learning that it’s not the goal, it’s the journey that is the most satisfying.
P.S.  If you’d like to read “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, just click on the link below.  (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate.)

Countdown: Skill #2-Critical Thinking

Countdown: Skill #2-Critical Thinking

In my original post in this series ( http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I discussed the 10 critical skills you need to succeed in the chaotic job market of the next few years. Today, I would like to talk about the #2 skill, Critical Thinking.

Just What is Critical Thinking?

 
Critical thinking is one of “those terms.” It has risen to near the top of skills employers are now seeking. Go search for a good definition though, and what you get is a lot of big words and phrases difficult to decipher.
 
Here is a list of elements involved in Critical Thinking stated in simple English:
  •  The ability to analyze the way you think.
  • A self-directed way of thinking using high standards of excellence.
  • A systematic, methodical approach to problem-solving.
  • The ability to think independently.
  • The ability to separate rational arguments from emotional ones.
 

Why is Critical Thinking Important to Me?

 
You are a Freelancer. You hire yourself out to clients and companies to work on various types of projects. Robots and software technology are replacing people at ever-increasing rates. What is the one skill technology doesn’t have? Human judgment.
 
This is where critical thinking comes in. Good critical thinking skills give you the ability to:
  •  Identify a bad or false argument.
  • Build and present good arguments.
  • Think better and more clearly.
  • Develop the ability to see things in new and different ways.
  • Question the status quo.

Here is the challenge. The human brain does not think logically. It makes most of its decisions on emotion and/or preconceived ideas. Having made a decision, people then go back and justify it with logic. What’s worse is once a person has made a decision they will defend it to the death, no matter how wrong it turns out to be.

Developing critical thinking skills helps you arrive at better, more logical decisions at the beginning of the process.
 
These are the skills employers are buying today. Doing things the same old way doesn’t cut it anymore. Now clients want new and different ways of accomplishing things. Making progress requires shaking things up.
 

How Can I Learn to be a Better Thinker?

 

There are lots of online resources to get you started. Google “Learn Critical Thinking,” and you’ll get about 29 million results. One challenge here is language. Many of these resources read like college psychology texts (read boring and difficult to comprehend). My research turned up a couple of good sources I think you will enjoy.
 
The first is a website for “The Critical Thinking Community.” This link ( http://bit.ly/2xrZtj7  ) will take you to a page that starts you on a path to learning about critical thinking. If you want to take your education further, there are a lot of wonderful resources on the site. You can join the community for free.
 
There are lots of books on this subject as well. One of the most readable I found was “Critical Thinking for Dummies,” by Martin Cohen. This book delivers a plain English approach to the subject I think you will enjoy. I have included a link below if you would like to order this terrific book. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate.)

Countdown: Skill #3 Creativity

Countdown: Skill #3 Creativity

The first blog post in this series ( http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ) I listed the top ten skills necessary if you are to triumph in the ongoing upheaval in the worldwide job market.  Today, I want to discuss the #3 skill, Creativity.

 

 

Why is Creativity so Important?

 

There is one simple reason why creativity as a skill is so much in demand.  Robots and software technology can’t do it.  Here is one area where human beings can beat the bots.  Every time.

Freelancers need this skill to solve problems with new programs and procedures.  Clients and different departments implementing new programs and services will require new solutions to problems that arise.

I have a favorite saying I think sums up the need for creativity in the business world.  It comes from General George Patton, the famous tank corps commander in World War II. “The best battle plan in the world isn’t worth a damn after the first shot is fired.”

General Dwight Eisenhower also weighed in on this subject when he said, “Plans are useless, but planning is essential.”

Freelancers know this.  When it all goes to hell, you’re going to have to get creative and think your way out of it.

 

How Can You Define Creativity?

 

I admit this is hard.  Creativity is one of those things that everyone knows when they see it, but find it difficult to define.

Let’s take a shot at it.  Creativity is:

  • The ability to think outside the box.
  • Coming up with something that’s never been done before.
  • Applying old methods in new ways.
  • Perceiving the world in new ways.

There are more.  Here is a link taking you to a Copyblogger Post with 21 different definitions of creativity ( http://bit.ly/2jEEKTH ).  (Hint… the list starts about halfway through the post).

 

Can I learn to be more creative?

 

How many times have you heard it?  “I’m just not a creative person.”

Wanna bet?  Actually, we all start out being very creative, and then we unlearn it.  In 1968, a man by the name of George Land devised a test to measure creativity ( http://bit.ly/2ykJSzE ).  He then gave the test to 1600 children, age 3 to 5 years, enrolled in a Head Start Program.  The results were amazing.  The 5-year-old kids scored 98% on the creativity test.  He retested the same kids 15 years later.  Guess where they scored? 12%.  Adults given the same test scored 2%.

This means our society is teaching us to unlearn creativity.

So it’s really not an issue of learning to be more creative.  It’s remembering how to be as creative as we once were.

The common misconception is that creativity belongs to artists, writers, musicians, and maybe a few computer geeks.   Nothing could be further from the truth.  We are all creative. Like all skills, it is one where proficiency is gained by practice.

Remember the old joke? A kid carrying a violin case goes up to a cop in New York City and asks, “How can I get to Carnegie Hall?”  The cop looks at the kid and says, “Practice, practice, practice.”

The best part is improving creativity is fun. A lot of fun.

 

I’m Sold. Where Can I go to Learn?

 

Online of course.  Google “Learn to be Creative.”  You’ll get more than a million results.

Now as for books?  One of the best I have ever read on this subject is “The Artists Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,” by Julia Cameron.  I read this book when it first came out over 25 years ago when I wanted to begin developing my writing skills.  I have reread at least 3 times since then.  Don’t be put off by the title.  This book is considered the seminal book on creativity.  It’s for people in every walk of life seeking to enhance their creativity skills.  There is also a great workbook that goes along with it I would recommend as well.

I have included links below if you would like to get these outstanding books. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate)

 

Countdown: Skill #6 Emotional Intelligence

Countdown: Skill #6 Emotional Intelligence

In my original post in this series ( http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I listed the 10 skills critical to your success as a Freelancer in the growing upheaval of the worldwide job market.  Today I’m going to discuss Emotional Intelligence, #6 in the series.

 

Emotional Intelligence is Important Because?

 

It is one of the essentials of leadership (there’s that word again).  Yes, as a future Freelancer, you are expected to be a good leader.  Part of your job will be the bringing together of disparate groups who need to get along if your projects are going to succeed.  In order to do this, you need to develop your Emotional Intelligence skills.

Emotional Intelligence (also referred to as EI in this post) is linked to your own success.  Studies show 90% of top performers are high in EI.

Emotional Intelligence also leads to personal happiness and achievement.

 

4 Core Skills Comprise EI

Self Awareness

Self Awareness is defined as the ability to perceive our own emotions and your reactions in given situations.

What gets you excited?  What angers or frustrates you?  How and when do you show your emotions?  How does showing your emotions affect others? In what ways?

Knowing how you react emotionally in any given situation and staying aware of those emotions as they happen is the key here.

Self-Management

Here is the best definition of self-management I have found. It’s the first two lines of Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If”.  “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”

Self-management is the ability to stay calm, cool, and collected.  Not allowing others to derail, distract, or disrupt your leadership in any given situation.

Social Awareness

Social awareness is the ability to pick up on how other people feel and why they feel that way.

It’s also developing a high sense of empathy which is the ability to understand the other person’s situation.  Add to this, the ability to meet the needs of clients and customers.

 

Relationship Management

 

Relationship management is bringing it all together.  It’s the ability to listen to all sides, using your awareness of  your own and others emotions to reach agreement. It’s applying creativity to a collaborative decision so that decisions are made from the bottom up. It’s also using clear communication to resolve conflict and build lasting bonds.

Relationships develop over time by frequency and depth of contact with others. The idea here is to build networks of individuals you can use to further your Freelancing practice, and better serve your clients.

 

Where Can I Learn About Improving My EI?

 

If you’ve been following my blogs, you’ll know the first place I always start is with books.  Start with Amazon, your local bookstore, or your local library.  One excellent book on the subject I found is Ian Tuhovsky’s Emotional Intelligence.  It’s an excellent guide to understanding and improving your EI.  There are also some nice freebies at the end. I’ve included a link below if you’d like to order this book. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate.)

Check online for courses.  If you Google “Courses in Emotional Intelligence”, you’ll find everything from University Courses leading to leadership certification to seminars to free online training.

 

When Should I Start?

 

Today!  The upheaval in the world job market is already underway.  Software technology and robots are replacing people at an ever increasing pace.  Forbes estimates 50% of the labor force will be Freelancers by 2020 ( http://bit.ly/2tfLsjq ). This is good news for you, but only if you act now so you are ready to take advantage of the shift.

One more thing.  If you’d like to read the full text of Rudyard Kipling’s Poem IF, click here ( http://bit.ly/2irfa3X ).  Ladies I apologize in advance for the poem’s tilt toward the male gender.  Kipling wrote it in 1895 when social norms were far different

 

 

 

Countdown: Skill #7 – Judgment & Decision-Making

Countdown: Skill #7 – Judgment & Decision-Making

In my original blog in this series (http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm), I said there were 10 skills critical to your future success in the coming turbulent job market.  Today I want to discuss skill # 7, judgment and decision-making.

 

 

The Importance of Judgment & Decision-Making Skills

 

Futurist Thomas Frey estimates 2 Billion (that’s Billion with a capital B) jobs will be lost by 2030 worldwide. (http://bit.ly/2w4whhN) Those jobs will be lost to robots and software technology.  There will also be lots of new jobs created.  But…the new jobs will require a skill robots and software don’t have.  Human judgment and making the decisions arising out of those judgments.

Your job as a future Freelancer will be to make those judgments and decisions for your clients. And…this will be one of the most sought after skills.

You could be called upon to decide:

  • Whether a program or service will even work for your client.
  • If the program or service is desirable, how will it be integrated?
  • What departments or divisions will fill new roles?
  • What existing jobs may be eliminated or repurposed?
  • Who will be responsible for the maintenance and updating of the new programs?

As you can see, the possibilities are almost endless.

 

Please define Judgment and Decision-Making

 

Judgment is the ability to evaluate a situation as objectively as possible.  Typically this will involve:

  • Defining the challenge or opportunity
  • Coming up with a list of possible solutions.
  • Listing pros and cons of each solution.

Decision-Making is: Choosing a solution and implementing it.

Sounds simple, right?

Ah, if it were only that easy.

There are a few other elements involved, such as:

  • Taking risks
  • Having the courage to put a decision into play
  • Admitting you’re wrong if it doesn’t work.
  • Gathering feedback to try again.

 

Often This Whole Process is Defined as Leadership

 

“Wait a minute!” I hear you say.  “If I’m a Freelancer, why do I have to be a leader?”

Any one who has ever been in the military will tell you; leaders exist at every level.  From the smallest unit of 3 people, to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, someone is always in charge.

As a Freelancer, you will be responsible for integrating and coordinating many things.  That means you will be leading. You should be confident in your ability to do research, implement it, and manage conflict amongst others.  You need to be a keen observer, able to spot difficulties early before they grow into a crisis.  This requires an action orientation and an assumption of risk.

The distressing part of this whole thing is that research shows most people make decisions based on emotion.  Then they try to justify that decision with logic.

It will be up to you to show your clients a better way.

 

Where Can I go to Learn About Judgment?

 

Lots of places.  As always, there are books.  One of the best I have found is by Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis titled Judgment, How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls. This book deals mainly with senior leadership in large organizations. It is still a good tutorial for developing the skills needed for good judgment. Plus, there’s a nifty handbook included at the end.  There is a link below if you would like to buy this book. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate)

There are also lots of courses available.  Just Google “Decision-Making Courses” and a ton of choices will come up.

Finally, there’s plain old everyday practice.  We all make decisions.  Lots of them, every single day.  Some turn out well, others not so much.  Analyze the good ones.  What did you do right?  Learn from the bad ones.  What could you have done better or differently?

The important thing is to start now.  The better you are, the more prepared you will be when that Freelancing opportunity appears.

 

 

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