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VIEWPOINT: DIFFERENTIATING YOURSELF TO REMAIN RELEVANT

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What differentiates you usurps your qualification

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, less than five years from now 5 million jobs will have been lost to automation. Technological advances in robotics and machine learning, for example, will also create new jobs and change the skills that employers need from human workers. In this day and age, being average has become mediocre because your competition, other leaders, has become exceptional. F A Benton writes that ‘talents and dreams are universal, what you do with them is not. Differentiate yourself big time.’

Find the skills that differentiate you, but do not limit yourself to your technical skills. Think of skills and talents such as relationship-building, being a team player who gets along with others, being a change agent, being a pioneer, having and exuding extraordinary energy, and the ability to identify talent and bring out the best in each of your team members. These are skills which can differentiate you. The sooner you identify that which differentiates you, the sooner you’ll thrive and inspire confidence in others.

SURFING THE WAVES OF YOUR CAREER

We are each unique, just as our fingerprints are; so too do we each have unique footprints. Imagine a career path which only your footprints can unlock. For each step you take, your career path gets unlocked and revealed. It’s about unlocking that path which is yours.

When you think of your career don’t think it’s going to be linear, but think of the phases in your career as ocean waves. When you reach success in one phase of your career, do not think you are at the top. You are just at the cusp of your current wave. There are plenty of waves ahead. And the next wave, which is bigger, will have a steeper climb. And when you get to the steeper climb do not look back and wish you had stayed on the smaller wave. Always remember you are surfing on bigger waves each time. Therefore in differentiating yourself in order to remain relevant do not be stagnant; always be prepared to start again and ride other waves.

BE A SOLUTIONS-BASED LEADER

I dare to venture into a debate that the kind of leaders who are solutions-focused will remain relevant, the leaders who are thinkers.

All companies, industries and the public sector face challenges that need solutions. Be part of the solution to ensure you are not part of the problem that artificial intelligence (AI) is trying to solve. Start today to do more than you did yesterday, start today to be more than you were yesterday and distinguish yourself in 2017. Remember, your competition is doing the same.

Author: Gugu Mtetwa CA(SA) is a Non-executive Director

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