Zig-zag your way to the top

Another 540,000 jobs lost in the United States last month. Unemployment inching towards ten percent. Don’t despair. Those of us who are not economists are no longer pessimists.

Now that the knee-jerk-driven 10 percent job cuts have hit the P&L and revenues have bottomed out, CEOs are doing their spring cleaning with more thought, believing that now is the time to re-deploying a tighter and tattered workforce more effectively around the real work that needs to get done.
The requires that bosses get a firm grasp of a narrower strategy and know the in-house capabilities of their people. They need to understand the strengths of their leaders, plug the gaps, find the fast learners, and move to implement the new organization fast. There will be a few more lay-offs, but the result will be a more motivated and relevant workforce. Welcome to a more productive phase of the recession.
If you’ve managed to emerge with a new and interesting job, you’re one of few lucky ones. Here’s what you’ve probably done, more or less: You’ve accurately assessed your company’s strategy and the capabilities necessary to achieve success. Then you’ve assessed your own competencies in light of your company’s strategies and did a good job of communicating with your boss about your personal goals and development needs. You were proactive but also empathetic about the needs of the company. All of this takes some honesty, humility, and a willingness to grow during these bleak times. Don’t wait to get shown the door. Take the time to figure this stuff out. If you’re job hasn’t changed, don’t take your company’s narrower strategy for granted.
The willingness to see the upside of a lateral move is a sign of maturity. This recession will slow your progress up the ladder. But don’t let it slow your personal and professional development. For better or worse, seize the fruits of a zig-zag career.
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