There’s nothing like a good economic crisis to liven up a discussion about positive versus negative thinking. People have a tendency to become a little more introspective when they feel their careers, financial stability, and peace of mind in general, are being threatened. It’s at times like these, though, that we find out a lot about ourselves and, a lot is learned about us by those who observe us everyday. When times are good, we can pretty much think however we like and we’ll still be carried along, to some degree, by the rising tide of a strong economy.
In preparation for a course on leadership I will be conducting this autumn, I was reviewing a speech given by Dr. Daniel Goleman. Goleman is the former New York Times Science Editor and a columnist on brain science. Many of you will recognize his name as the modern day father of Emotional Intelligence and internationally best selling author on that topic.
Yesterday I promised to give you a powerful formula. Here it is: M = [i] x [v]. I’ll explain what it means and how it ties everything together later, but first let’s get some final thoughts from our panel of leaders about ways in which you can differentiate yourself in this and all the other recessions that will follow this one, for the rest of your career.
I began this series by talking about common sense. The paradox of common sense is that it must address what are often complex issues with extreme simplicity like this old gem: “If it’s too good to be true, chances are it is.” To be really good, though, common sense statements should have a delayed reaction. Yes, they make sense when we hear them and some even cause us to smile. But, after a while, sometimes when we least expect it, we hear them echo in our thoughts as we contemplate doing something, which brings me to today’s column in this series.
The conventional wisdom is that this recession has not yet reached its depth in Central and Eastern Europe. Most of the leaders I have talked with over the past three months tell me that the worst of this won’t reach us until the end of the second quarter of this year, and it will be at least six months to a year after that before we begin to experience any recovery—which is expected to be weak and slow.
I have seen data that estimates that the average worker entering the workforce today can plan on working for 10 different employers during the course of his or her career. Why? Well, some of it has to do with this thing we call globalization, which makes businesses more competitive, some of it has to do with business expansion and contraction, and all of it has to do with change. Change will be the driver of the global economy. Some of the change will be by choice and some (most) will be thrust upon us by forces outside our personal control.
These are trying times for many corporations that are attempting to expand and participate in a growing economy. One of the reasons is pretty simple: there are a dwindling number of qualified people for an expanding number of jobs being created in the marketplace. I have spoken with a number of business leaders recently who are deeply concerned not only with how they are going to find the human capital they need to grow their enterprises, but just as important, how they are going to keep them once they hire them.
These are very interesting times. Many people tell me how difficult it is to find people to fill jobs that they have vacant in their companies. Plainly put, it appears that there are more job openings than there are qualified people to fill them.
This presents an interesting situation for those who are employed. Since there is a shortage of people, does this mean that you’re worth more to your employer? Is this the time to ask for that raise that you’ve been thinking about?