“Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.” — Glenda Cloud
The field you’re in can slow you down or it can speed up your career success.
It’s easier to be a success in some fields than in others. Some fields are rapid growth, in which case, you can ride the bandwagon. In other fields, you might find a way to play to your strengths in a novel or unique way that works for you.
If you’re making all the right moves, and doing all the right things, it just might be that the container that you’re in is a slow-growth field, or over-crowded, or too competitive for your success to shine through.
For me, I chose a high-tech field because of the growth potential. In an information age, it seems to be full of opportunities and rapid change. Interestingly, I work with a lot of musicians who would otherwise be starving artists, but instead they fund their life style by working in a high-tech field, and then carve out time for their musical talents, or even find ways to bring their creative talents to the job, or bring high-tech to music..
The beauty is, you don’t have to necessarily be a perfect fit for a rapid growth field. You can always find a way to use your talents or experience as a differentiator. For example, I don’t need to be the best software developer. Instead, I can leverage my ability to lead high-performance teams or execute projects or create information models. In fact, it’s this last skill that helped me win in competitive assessments, and to file patents.
5 Ways to Leverage a Rapid Growth Field
In the book, Tactics: The Art and Science of Success , Edward de Bono shares ways to leverage high-growth fields for improving your career success:
- Follow the Growth. de Bono writes, “The computer industry is a growth industry, and within that industry software is a growth field. The steel industry is not a growth industry. Clearly is it easier, as I write, to be successful in the computer industry than in the steel industry. Property has always been such a promising field. So is insurance. The oil industry has its ups and downs but it has also been an area in which individuals could make fortunes. It is both the growth of the field that matters and the nature of the transaction within that field. It is easier for a person to make his name in investment banking than in retail banking. It is easier to make a name as a journalist than as a school-teacher.”
- Ride the Bandwagon. de Bono writes, “If the field is really growing rapidly, then any person in that field may simply be carried along with the growth and not have to contribute very much to his his or her own success. Riding the bandwagon had always been one road to success. There is usually room for several people on the bandwagon. The pioneer in the field may or may not be successful, but those who come in very soon after the field is established can be carried along by its explosive growth.”
- When luck doesn’t work, make it by design. de Bono writes, “Getting a rapid growth field may be a matter of luck or choice. You may simply happen to be in a field that starts to grow rapidly. You may choose to get into a field that you think may start to grow. You may choose to move smartly into a field as soon as you spot the field is on the move. In show-jumping you can be a brilliant rider who gets the very best out of a difficult horse. Or you can make sure that you choose for yourself the very best horse around and then just hang on and let the horse do it for you. There is a certain heroism in the first approach and more sense in the second.”
- Find the ways you can be in a field. de Bono writes, “What if your temperament and talents are suited to a field that is not growing? What if the growing field demands talents you do not have? What if you are no good at writing software, should you get into that field? You could always market the software or finance software companies or hire people to write the software for your company. It is well worth looking around to see the many ways you can be in a field. The real estate world has deal-makers, developers, financiers, lawyers, contractors, etc.”
- Beware the talent trap. de Bono writes, “Sometimes there is a sort of ‘talent trap.’ A youngster is good at maths at school so he or she gets channeled into a career that uses mathematics. But that youngster may have been almost as good at organization and might have become a chief executive of a major organization instead of a professor of mathematics. Talent in one direction does not mean that there is no talent in the other direction. If you are suited to a slow-moving field, it is only too easy that you will not be able to shift to another field that is growing more rapidly. Far too many youngsters who showed some aptitude for art have had their lives ruined by that small talent which has lead them into a field that is so difficult even for the most talented.”
The key is to play to your strengths while following the growth, or creating growth.
Photo by pastanaut.