Wednesday 26 June 2019

The Digital Revolution: Is your industry ripe for dislocating change?

There are a number of key themes we stress as being integral to mastering strategies for career success.

Antony Jenkins, former Chief Executive of Barclays, was interviewed on Radio 4’s In Business lately. In particular, he stressed the impact of the Digital Revolution on the banking sector. However, his predictions for radical and disruptive change in financial services can be extended to other sectors.

It is clear from the emergence of companies such as Uber and FinTech startups that many industries are ripe for major and dislocating change, with the potential to shake industries to their very foundations.

Those who fail to adapt - perhaps most - risk getting pushed back down the value chain.

We have seen this with once-big name brands, such as Kodak, Nokia and Blackberry. In the case of banks, Jenkins predicts that many will end up becoming capital-intensive utilities, with a 20-50% reduction in jobs, employment and branches over the next decade. These are transformations which are not restricted to the financial sector. Indeed, there is no escape from the forces of technology which are automating jobs across industries.

This digital revolution will of course create winners and losers. Those who can adapt will reap the benefits of technological change, whilst those who fail will find themselves facing collapse. It can be particularly challenging for large organisations to recognise when they are in existential moments. The legacy infrastructure works as a huge millstone around the neck, whilst new players on the scene, such as ApplePay - whether at a company or indeed, an individual level - are more able to exploit from a fresh start new technologies.

Linked to this, is the fact that people are often reluctant to move jobs without the explicit need to do so, yet it’s far more productive to pre-empt this sort of radical change.

In light of this, there are two key ingredients to mastering your career: Anticipation and Agility. It is important to intelligently watch the strategic picture unfold, to the point where you can anticipate what is coming your way. This will enable you to be proactive and take action, and thus reposition yourself accordingly - the intelligent thing to do.

We believe there are two key skills that will enable you to reposition yourself as the digital revolution forces the terrain to change:

1.    The promise of value: This is the value that you can promise to add to a future business, including your proven track record, skills, etc.

2.    Marketing: How you present yourself in the marketplace, whether you are actively looking for a new job or not. This will include your professional branding, your presence in the digital environment, your professional network, interview skills, etc.

Strategic thinking and intelligent positioning are thus key elements to career success.

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