KeepCalmAndWorkSmartWe simply can’t work they way we did in the last stages of the industrial era. We are in a global environment that demands high degrees of connection across cultures and continents.


In our last blog, Charlie talked about the staggering advances in technology that are about to happen.   We are on the cusp of integrating additive manufacturing (3D printing), artificial intelligence and robotics. What we are about to see is a world that simply needs about 30% fewer ‘workers’. Workers that remain are increasingly contractors.


You can survive this change.  In fact, you can thrive! But you have to change your old way of navigating your career.  The old way has got to go…The emerging demands of the economy are changing.


What must you do now?


Awaken to this reality and accept that it is happening.  Seriously commit to intentionally evolving yourself and your business acumen to meet the emerging demands of the economy.   Do it now before you have to do it.




Five Commitments of a SMART Career Professional


What are the most important SMART career moves? At The Smart Workplace, Charlie Grantham and I have defined Five Commitments of a SMART Career Professional (Read more in my November 2016 book release, Working Virtually: Leading Your Team, Career and Organization in a Mobile Work World.)


Self leadership.  This mean taking personal responsibility for your own development. It begins with discovering your own purpose that matches your passion and skills.  Then match up the people you work with and the work you do with your purpose as much as you can.   Self-leadership means putting people and systems in place to get real performance feedback and helpful coaching.  When your leader doesn’t give feedback, It’s up to you. Fewer Human Resource and Learning & Development departments offer fully developed programs to help you get better as a team member and leader, so you may also need to look for skill development training on your own as well. YouTube some consider to be the top destination for learning today. It’s not the only or best place to learn, but it is an indication of the trend toward self-development and peer learning.


Mindshift from “me” to “we”. This mind shift is the essence of truly collaborative teamwork and integrated organizations. Valued contributors suit up and show up, whether the job lasts a week or for a career. You don’t just contribute agreed-upon deliverables. Temporary teams are still fully functioning teams, and they still require full commitment from team members. “Enlightened self-interest” has to evolve into a focus on the total ecology of the workplace, work teams, your community and the entire social system which surrounds you.


Adaptation to emerging realities. We’re all change managers, adapting to faster change than at any time in recorded history. Professionals move from organizations and cultures, so adaptability is key. Learn and evolve to keep pace, without losing integrity. Adjust quickly to many teams’ rhythms and flows. Much is emerging that has no precedent, requiring innovative thinking – individually and with teammates. Teams face challenges not solved by past learning. They need collaborative, forward-focused innovators. Decide what to hold onto, what to adapt and what to let go. You decide the limits to your ability to learn from current and emerging realities.


Relationship management. You are now responsible for managing your professional social network. Trusted colleagues are the most common source for you to find good work, compensated projects, professional guidance, mentoring, and social support. You need to consciously build it, maintain it and change it as conditions demand. Carefully choose your personal ‘board of directors’ for their respective competencies, integrity and dedication to your success. Develop a passionate network that opens doors for you (and trusts you to open doors for them).


Technology literacy. Collaboration tools are really about communication in the largest sense. Marshall McLuhan said it best, “The medium is the message”. Today’s medium is digital – social media, mobile platforms and knowledge-embedded networks. You need to know how to use the technology at a basic level for virtual teamwork and coordinating calendars and handoffs. But that’s not enough. You have to master collaboration tools so you can broadcast your brand and access any resources you need to stay relevant professionally.


Working SMART is on the leading edge of a bigger trend where we are more responsible for managing ourselves.   We must manage our careers and the transitions that come when moving from one role to the next throughout our careers. We at The Smart Workplace know that if you work SMART, you will be ahead of the trend and ahead of the curve. You will anticipate changes before they directly impact you. You’ll be a leader informally as you navigate a thriving career led by a strong reputation for integrity and collaborative team play.


The main point I want you to take from this blog post is that you are in charge of your work life. You may not have Human Resources to develop a career plan with you, or be able to rely on your managers to coach you in the right direction.

You are your own boss, resource and career coach. This puts more control – and opportunity – in your hands. Emerge your own future to create the career you want. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or nostalgic for a past where we delegated so much of our work lives, embrace today’s reality, keep calm, and work SMART.

If you haven’t already, take our free SMART Worker Self-assessment to see where you should start. Contact me or any of us at The Smart Workplace to discuss shadow consulting or coaching services if you’d like hands-on guidance.

~Trina Hoefling, Co-Founder, The Smart Workplace