Adaptability, Inc. is hiring. I wish I would’ve told him that.

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”

~ Stephen King, American Novelist

He sat on the curb holding a sign.

“I’m desperate. Need money for food.”

He was unshaven and wore jeans and a lime-green shirt. As I got closer to pulling out of the grocery store parking lot, he stood and pushed the sign toward my car, as if trying to give me something. He glared at me, lips pursed.

And I did what most of us do at the point of driving away — I looked away.

I knew nothing about this guy, had no idea why he came to be sitting on that curb holding that sign. Santa Cruz’s homeless population continues to grow while job growth is non-existent and services decline. The greater SC county’s unemployment rate currently hovers at 11% (the state of California is over 12%). The 20th annual Access to Employment Job Fair in Santa Cruz only has about two-thirds of the employers participating compared to previous years.

This dismal outlook continues to play out all over the country. Ambiguity, Inc. seems to be the primary employer these days.

Politics aside, the way we work in this world is evolving rapidly and painfully.

And just as we look to business leaders to navigate empathically in uncertainty and develop adaptability, we must ask the same of our employees.

Because some of them become the next generation of leaders who need to navigate empathically in uncertainty and develop adaptability.

A study released this year by consulting firm Accenture PLC asked U.S. employers why they added employees during the downturn. While 46 percent of the executives reported that they launched new products or entered a new market, 45 percent also said they needed workers with more or different skills for future business. (via Workforce Management)

Some employers work to develop their employees after-the-hiring fact, which when hiring has traditionally been based on resumes, brief interviews, background screening, obligatory reference checks, and/or more recently social media participation. (Of course the mix varies depending on industry, position, etc.)

There is a new trend — employers are starting at the front-end with the following, not in the middle.

  • Emotional intelligence assessments
  • Personality assessments
  • Communication-style assessments
  • In-depth reference checking (more than 3)
  • Talent and skills-based assessments
  • Scenario-based behavioral interviewing
  • Cross-functional panel interviewing

However, it all has to start with You, Inc. Pride of ownership increases confidence and the ability to develop even further, so own your career development.

Own your life for that matter. This is where personal leadership starts — mastering your own state of being — which encompasses who you are, what you believe and how you behave. Your state of being speaks to the sum total of your attitudes, beliefs, actions and values. It spans your vision of the future and presence in the moment.

I’m not saying it’ll be easy, because it isn’t. It takes a lot of hard work. You’ll need to find the resources, the job/skills training, the support of family and friends, the support of anyone who cares, and any other mentors who will help guide you, all on a none-to-bootstrapped budget.

You’ll need to find yourself, then diversify.

Adaptability, Inc. is hiring. I wish I would’ve told him that.


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