Reinvent Yourself

By Scott Westerman

Recently, a radio buddy was complaining that too many of his friends in the biz were getting fired. These are disk jockeys who have been doing the same thing the same way for two decades without much change in their act. According to this NYT article, this phenomenon is starting to happen in the rarefied world of television anchorship, too.

The only mystery to me is how these people didn’t see it coming.

Things change. How you did it today won’t be the way you do it tomorrow. Your success will be tied to how well you can anticipate and prepare for change, and reinvent yourself to continue to add value.

In my early days as a radio guy, I quickly realized that DJs were expendable. A DJ who also carried a client list and sold commercials was more valuable. If he also had a First Class FCC license and could do transmitter maintenance, he was even less likely to be thrown over the side if times got tough. I tried to do all of those things and also started studying the financial statements that drove the stations overall profitability. It lead me to recognize the opportunities that were available in the then fledgling cable TV industry, ultimately reinventing myself as a cable guy.

My guess is that those who find themselves “between opportunities”, could benefit from reinvention.

Look at the job you do today. How will it be done in the future? What new skills do you need to develop to be successful in that future role? Start now to get those skills. If you’re not yet in the position you want, act today as would the person who already has that gig and you are more likely to get it.

The law of cause and effect is an amazing thing. It always works. Sometimes it may feel like it’s taking forever to get to your goal, but persevere and you will get there. That’s where my favorite Jim Collins maxim, “The Stockdale Paradox” from his terrific book Good to Great comes in.

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

According to the economists, we’re in the midst of an economic “correction”. Businesses are being re-valued based on more conservative metrics. Credit is tighter, consumers are spending more carefully, and everybody is reassessing their paradigms to figure out how to continue to grow as the rules of the game evolve.

The first question that leaders will be asking is, “What kind of people will we need to have on the team to help us succeed in this new environment?”

Ask yourself that question, align the answer with your personal passions, sharpen your skills, build your professional network (before you need it)..

And reinvent yourself.

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