ViewPoint: Navigating Careers in the Never Normal
October 13, 2020

This article by Julie Winkle Giulioni was published in SmartBrief.

Shortly after the global pandemic changed the face of the workplace, writers and leaders began contemplating the new normal — how the world would be once things settled down. Months in, as reality took hold, the language shifted from “new” to “next” – as “normal” became a moving target.

After more than six months, millions of lost jobs and countless pivots in service of evolving conditions and customer needs, we must again adjust how we talk about what’s to come. We might need to let go of what we used to know and acknowledge that the kind of stability and predictability we enjoyed in the past won’t return.

We’re not going back

By all accounts, we’re not going back to normal or new or next. And a range of factors — many established long before COVID-19 — are contributing to today’s never-normal-again environment.

  • Organizations were already under productivity and profit pressure. They were already leveraging assets and optimizing resources, doing exponentially more with less.
  • Competition was coming from new and varied sources. (Who would have imagined Amazon getting into the real estate business?) As a result, organizations were becoming more attuned, alert and anxious about protecting market share and expanding their pieces of the pie.
  • Disruption was the name of the game in early 2020. Now the combination of a global pandemic, economic downturn and racial inequity has left individuals and organizations feeling insecure and on unstable ground.
  • Workforce dynamics are in flux as working from home becomes the standard rather than the exception, which shifts power dynamics and democratizes opportunity. Whether one works as a vice president at corporate headquarters or as a supervisor out of a garage in Topeka, Kan., everyone occupies the same size tile and has the same volume voice in the new online workspace.

With so many forces and factors conspiring to reshape the business landscape, we should not expect a return to normal. To the contrary, we should expect a kaleidoscope of change coming at an unprecedented pace.

Savvy leaders and employees who recognize this new reality also recognize the implications, as well as the powerful opportunities for growth and career development within our never-normal environment. 

Never normal means more informal

The opportunities for growth are plentiful, but only for leaders and employees who embrace new approaches to learning and development. We can no longer rely upon old, formal, programmatic formulas. What’s needed are more organic, self-driven and informal means to mine the richness that the workplace has to offer.

Four shifts can introduce infinitely more opportunities for growth.

  1. Continuous learning must give way to creative learning through an ever-growing circle of resources. It’s been said that information is power. But given the nearly unlimited volume of data at our fingertips and speed with which things change, we can’t always wait for insights to be formally documented and chronicled, even if we could find it all. We need to go to the source: the people around us. That’s why the freshest and most necessary learning now happens in real time, in informal person-to-person interactions. As a result, tapping an always-growing network of resources is a powerful development and success strategy. 
  2. Agility equals ability. Seeing what’s next and pivoting gracefully will not only protect careers, it also will grow them in new, interesting and meaningful ways. Invest effort into becoming more flexible and nimbler in your thinking and actions. It’s one of today’s most highly valued competencies and will likely remain so.
  3. DIY development no longer only means “do it yourself.” In recent years, it’s become increasingly evident that employees must own their careers, taking the lead as they work with their leaders to craft plans to support their goals. While that philosophy remains valid, DIY today also stands for “develop individual yardsticks.” The days of the predictable progression up the corporate ladder are long gone. Continuing to hold those expectations as the measure of career success will only lead to disappointment and disengagement.As a result, everyone at every level of the organization must redefine success in ways that align with today’s realities. We must stop focusing on what we want to be. Instead of obsessing over promotions and position, we must begin defining career success in terms of the kind of work we want to do, the problems we want to solve and the challenges we want to embrace. This, then, becomes a unique and personal yardstick for success.
  4. Ad hoc feedback is the new individual development plan. The speed at which the workplace is changing and the uncertainty that accompanies it has rendered the idea of annual anything useless. Think about your development plans instituted last year. Much has likely been rendered null and void. The infrequent, formal conversations of the past simply don’t operate at the speed of business today. But, do you know what does? The day-in and day-out feedback we get from colleagues, customers, suppliers, contractors and others with whom we regularly interact. This informal feedback offers the insight, redirection and focus required for relevant growth and career success, especially during times of uncertainty and change.

There’s little that we can predict about the months and years ahead. Still, one thing is for sure. It won’t be the normal that we’d all come to know and love. Holding on to a new or next version of that will likely only leave us disappointed and unprepared.

Letting go of these expectations and embracing reality may not be easy. But it’s definitely the first step toward preparing for the growth and development required of a never-normal future.

Julie Winkle Giulioni works with organizations worldwide to improve performance through leadership and learning.  Named one of Inc. Magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers, Giulioni is the co-author of the Amazon and Washington Post bestseller “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want,” You can learn more about her speaking, training and blog at

Being Selfish Won’t Help Your Career
September 15, 2020

By Laura Counts

A new study finds that being manipulative and disagreeable isn’t the path to success. 

The researchers conducted two studies of people who had completed personality assessments as undergraduates or MBA students at three universities. They surveyed the same people more than a decade later, asking about their power and rank in their workplace hierarchies, as well as the culture of their organizations.

They also asked their coworkers about the study participants’ workplace behaviour and rank. Across the board, they found those who scored high on disagreeable traits were not more likely to have attained power than those who were generous, trustworthy, and generally nice.

Read More

The Power of Networking
July 15, 2020

The following article has been written by Cathy Milton a Canadian Career Professional.

You don’t have to look too long or hard to find several articles on the internet supporting the fact that up to 85% of job seekers landed their current job via networking. Even when presented with that impressive statistic, some clients may be sceptical.

I recently sat down with a friend and neighbour, a brilliant young man who just started a new job obtained via the strength of his well-maintained network. His success story may help to motivate your job-hunting clients who hesitate to engage their own networks in their search.

As background, what was your former job title and how long were you with that company?

I was Vice President of Product Management, and I was with that firm just shy of 10 years. I started out in an entry-level position as a software developer, and I worked my way up as the company went through rapid growth phases. Read more

8 Signs Someone Is Perfect For A Career In Psychology

Psychology is a subject that interests a lot of people, but not everyone is cut out to transform it into a successful career.

The following article, published by Arden University,  may help your clients decide if Psychology is really for them.

Ever find yourself wondering if you could make it as a psychologist? Here are eight signs that you could be perfect for a career in psychology – if you manage to tick off five or more, you’re probably on to something!

You have a curious nature

There are several careers which are made for those with a naturally curious mind and psychology is definitely one of them. A psychologist has to have that urge to find out what makes people tick. Every case you come across will be different, so the more you learn about psychology, the more you’ll feel that there’s so much you’re yet to discover. Your curious nature will drive you forwards and help you to excel as a professional psychologist.

You’re the friend everyone feels they can confide in

Read more

From Careers to Experiences
June 30, 2020

The following article was first published in The Wall Street Journal in 2018.

In the 21st century, careers may no longer be narrowly defined by highly structured jobs and skills, but by experiences and learning agility.

As technology becomes increasingly central to organizations’ business models and ability to compete, many successful CIOs have prioritized building and maintaining the pools of talent required to meet new challenges. Such efforts include recruiting and hiring top talent and then finding ways to keep these employees engaged, challenged, and advancing within their organizations.

What does the modern career path look like? It’s evolving into a series of developmental experiences, each offering a person the opportunity to acquire new skills, perspectives, and judgment. Among 10 trends highlighted in Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, 84 percent of survey respondents cite “from careers to experiences” as very important or important, making it the third most singled-out trend this year, yet only 37 percent think they are very ready or ready to address this transition (Figure 1).

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Seven Tips for Changing Your Career Path

The following article may be of help to any clients who are at a career crossroads.

Are you completely unsatisfied with your current job? Would you do anything to turn your life around? Do you want to push forward with your plans as soon as possible?

If your answer to these questions is yes, you will need to take on board the following seven tips to change your career path. They will help you to change your career path for the better. It might be an intimidating career pathprospect, but if you plan ahead, think positive, and keep your cool, you are sure to secure success. Hopefully, it won’t be long until you are looking back at this moment; thrilled that you had the nerve to follow your dreams.

Work out what it is you don’t like about your current job

Before you do anything else, you will need to work out what it is you don’t like about your current job. It will save you from making the same mistake over and over again. Overhauling your career path is a big step to take, so the last thing you want is to end up in exactly the same position. That is why you should write a detailed account of everything your current job lacks. You could also try keeping a journal, as this will allow you to make daily entries that explore your grievances. Then, when it comes to finding your new profession, you will have a clear idea of the areas that you are unwilling to compromise on. Whether you decide never to work long hours again, never to put up with a demanding boss, or never to make do with a tiring commute, the most important thing is that you know your limits.

Get your personal finances in order Read more

Career Girls®
June 10, 2020

The mission of Career Girls is for all girls to reach their full potential and discover their own path to empowerment through access to inspiring career role models and supportive girl-centric curriculum.

Based in the United States, is a video-based career exploration tool for girls, with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers. It’s free to use and free of commercials.

It includes over 7,000 video clips featuring more than 400 women role models. These successful women work in different careers—ranging from astronaut to musician to veterinarian—all over the United States. is unique. It provides inspirational and educational videos of real women who have made it in their chosen fields—and combines these videos with other useful tools for both girls and educators. As well as the videos, their site also includes a range of free resources which you may be able to adapt to your own information, advice and guidance environment.

Visit the Careers Girls website HERE

These Are the Three Key Dynamics Shaping Modern Careers
May 20, 2020

The following article was written by Lisa Mainiero Professor of Management at Fairfield University and is published in collaboration with LSE Business Review.

The career landscape of the 21st century, characterised by work interruptions, opt-outs, and temporary contingent work assignments, requires that we think differently about linear careers. 

Until now, much of the career literature has been based on men in the twentieth century who had linear careers in a single corporation or industry. However, men and women in the 21st century have unique career trajectories, sometimes fulfilling the ideal of a linear career, but more often characterised by opt-outs, contingent employment contracts, and part-time work. The Kaleidoscope Career Model (the KCM) (Mainiero & Sullivan, 20052006) addresses the unique features of male and female careers and takes into consideration the non-linear aspects of contingent work. The KCM posits that needs for authenticity, balance and challenge over the course of a career will be present but arise at different intensities across the lifespan.

The three parameters

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Three Proven Ways to Boost Your Career Mojo
March 19, 2020

An article in HRMagazine by Michael Brown.

How much of your working week are you spending on things you think you should be doing, and doing them well? Write down your average percentage across a typical week.

I wonder how your answer compares with the average, which I have been researching through my training programmes over 20 years.

The average is a mere 40%. That means most people reckon they spend three days per week doing things they shouldn’t, or doing things they should be doing but doing them badly.

Quite how organisations survive on two days’ productivity per week is beyond me. But I’m a natural optimist, and believe that this figure can change for the better through some simple changes in behaviour and attitude. These three things will boost your career mojo more than any others.

First up, your biggest time waster: useless meetings. Poorly run, often irrelevant to you (but you got invited just in case), unfocused, and lacking ownership and clarity over who is going to do what.

They sap your energy, waste your time and cause frustration and poor morale, but for some reason we don’t do anything about it. Here are three things you can do to change all that:

  • Don’t attend meetings which don’t have an agenda. They will probably be the most badly run and unfocussed of all of them. Ask for an agenda, and if you’re told there is no agenda, say you can’t therefore assess whether it’s a good use of your time, and decline it.
  • Suggest to the meeting owner that they put a time limit on each item on the agenda, and then have someone call it when you have five minutes left. It’s amazing how this focuses the discussion.
  • Start each meeting with a review of the actions from the previous meeting. Once people realise that they are going to be asked to account for themselves it somehow raises their commitment to doing what they say they will.
  • Bonus item: finish every meeting with a review of how the meeting went, and how it could be improved next time. Funny how that seems to create a cycle of continuous improvement. It also allows people to give each other feedback; it might be a chance for the introverts (usually about half the people in the meeting) to say whether they felt listened to and included or not.

None of the above involves rocket science. Just plain common sense and a healthy dose of assertiveness.

Second on my list of mojo boosters is building trust with your key stakeholders. Trust levels in society are at an all-time low, and in the workplace this means collaboration becomes rarer and we find ourselves putting energy into covering our own back, defending our own territory and having a scarcity mindset as opposed to one of abundance.

The best way to build trust is to spend time with people. Get to know colleagues informally (away from the office is a good place to do it), and start to share more of the human factor with them.

Over time you start to uncover your shared interests, values and concerns, and can work towards helping each other to achieve them.

Finally, my third suggestion for making more good days at the office: negotiate more for yourself. Far too many people aren’t aware of some of the basic principles of negotiation, and this leaves them vulnerable when others negotiate with them (which is most of the time, as most transactions between two humans involve some element of negotiation). Here are some negotiation principles that lead you to not being on the wrong end of the deal quite so often:

  • Be ready to negotiate. When people ask you for something they don’t always expect you to say yes, and are ready to look at alternatives if you go about it the right way. So don’t think that doing what you’re asked to every time is what is expected.
  • Test people’s positions. When they ask for something, they often don’t really mean it. There is normally at least 20% ‘wiggle room’; to be had, so test whether there is.
  • Don’t give anything away for free. That way people will value it more, and you may find you get something back in return.
  • Insert ‘if’ into your response. “If I do that analysis for Friday can you do the slide deck?” Suddenly this is a two-way street and we are collaborating. This will improve our relationship, not weaken it.

I’m often amazed at people’s reactions when I suggest they make these changes. It’s as if the clouds have parted and the Sun has finally broken through.

To my mind they are nothing more than a statement of the obvious, but if they are not obvious to you (perhaps because you are so busy you have forgotten the basics) then I am confident they will make a real and sustainable difference to your workplace experience.

Michael Brown has been a business skills coach and trainer for more than 20 years and is author of My Job Isn’t Working!

Developing Rolls-Royce Procurement Specialists
March 17, 2020

By Gordon Tytler, Director of Procurement at Rolls-Royce.

After almost three decades of working in procurement, the biggest change Gordon Tytler has seen isn’t the technology or speed of delivery, but the professionalism of the people working behind the scenes to purchase and move products around the globe. “The people that we have and the quality of the people that we’ve got is phenomenal,” the director of procurement for Rolls-Royce says. 

Procurement specialists today are more than buyers; they need to have a strong business sense and be able to guide a company’s decision-making. “Procurement is very much a people- and knowledge-based organization,” Tytler says. “The tools allow us to operate more efficiently, more effectively and allow us to link with our suppliers. But, the key differentiator for successful procurement is its people.” 

Tytler’s belief in the value of his employees is part of why Rolls-Royce invests heavily in training and recruitment. The company encourages its team members to join professional organizations such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, the Institute of Supply Management and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply. 

Those organizations are one way employees improve their skills knowledge, but Rolls-Royce also offers training at every level of a person’s career. Early training tends to center on a person’s capabilities. As they progress through their career, training becomes more focused on leadership and how individuals can contribute to a high-performance culture. Tytler himself recently took part in a leadership academy course held at England’s Oxford University for Rolls-Royce’s top 150 executives. “That commitment to training at all levels is very, very strong,” Tytler says.

Identifying those people who can contribute to Rolls-Royce’s high-performance culture begins during recruitment. The company draws students from universities around the world and regularly holds career fairs. 

When hiring or promoting, Tytler says Rolls-Royce is not only looking at skills and capabilities, but also the individual’s behaviour and culture. The company wants people who can build a culture of collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurism while sourcing materials in an ethical way and creating long-term relationships with suppliers. “We’ve got some absolutely brilliant people,” Tytler says. “Their skills, their behaviours are fantastic. The how we do the job is equally important to what we do.” 

Centrally Led, Locally Deployed

Tytler himself is a product of Rolls-Royce’s career advancement training. He joined the company as an engineer in 1989 and has spent the last 28 years serving in various roles in factories, procurement, supply chain and logistics. In that time, he’s worked for four out of the five divisions of the company and lived in both the United States and Norway. His most recent step forward with the company came in April 2016 when Tytler was named the director of procurement for the group. 

In his new position, Tytler is responsible for administering Rolls-Royce’s $9 billion annual spend in an ethical and sustainable way. The procurement group alone has 1,100 people, divided among the company’s three divisions: Civil aerospace, defense aerospace, power systems and group for indirect purchases. Tytler acts as the strategic and functional leader for all three of those procurement groups and has direct accountability for the group indirect purchases.

Read the full article