There’s a feeling you get when you know a person, company, or experience is one that will forever change you. It’s a feeling that, if you’re lucky, you might experience a handful of times in your life. When opportunity arrives, will you embrace change? Or will you let it pass you by?
My role as Regional Director for Actionable in the UK is to find forward thinking consultants and coaches who are poised for this to happen to them. When we first talk they might not know exactly what needs to be done, but know that if they don’t make a shift they will be made redundant by a number of trends in their space.
Every day I discuss the shifting learning landscape with incredibly smart people who know they need to make a pivot that results in a new way of working. Part of my job is making sure the people we speak to are the right fit (we are very big on fit) and make sure we get to know each other before committing to a partnership.
Although we take time to make sure fit is right, I also encounter consultants who ‘get it’ and immediately start discussing the potential with colleagues, clients, and friends. When that ‘Actionable light’ switches on, I can sometimes see consultants go wide-eyed realizing the scope of impact that they can have, and they embrace change readily.
‘Getting it’’ happened to me when I was handing out rocks (it’s a good story – ask me about it sometime) at Europe’s most overcrowded tech conference. I stumbled upon Actionable’s booth and then happened to be in the audience when Chris Taylor presented in his laid back but incredibly engaging style. He presented Actionable in a way that made me ‘get it’ immediately. I decided right on the spot that I wanted to be a part of what he was looking to accomplish with the business.
After a month of what I like to call ‘polite pestering,’ I landed a call with the company. It went at breakneck speed from there, the fit was right, I spoke to a number of employees (now my colleagues) and before I knew it, on the 23rd of December, right before I was going out for Christmas drinks with my brother, I got the nod. I was in.
Recounting the story now, it seems like a complete coincidence that it happened. But if you step back a few months before I met Chris it all makes sense.
The interesting thing about this experience is that it completely follows the old cliché “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I guess it’s a cliché for a reason.
Mid summer, four months before I encountered Actionable, I found myself at the end of a tumultuous entrepreneurial experience, and was ready to embrace change. As part of this process I stepped back to examine where I had thrived in previous roles, thinking about the moments that ‘made the hair on my arms stand on end’ as I say. After reflection and discussion with those that knew me best, I realized that what I loved was helping people achieve their goals, and to have fun doing it—whether it be a person or organization. I thrive on getting people where they want to go.
The ironic thing about this realization is that it’s exactly what I had done in my first job at Hay Group. Again, cue a cliché about how it always seems to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. But it’s true. I was working in the field that I loved but didn’t know it. It wasn’t until I experienced something that wasn’t right, that I realized what was right for me.
Knowing I wanted to be in this space was just the start—finding a company that aligned with my values and was tackling human development was the next step. I was flexible. I was doing some consulting at that point, and knew that if I found something that caught my eye I would throw myself into it.
The other element to this was wanting to find my tribe. Anyone who has ever run their own business knows that it can be a lonely thing to do. Not having that person or group to bounce ideas off of can mean that the ideas never get out of your head. I knew that to take my personal development to the next level, I needed to find a group that resonated with me, and also aligned with what I wanted to achieve.
And enter Actionable.
I was prepared to commit entirely to something that resonated with me at the moment opportunity presented itself. I was ready to embrace change, and jump into a new role. Some would call that luck.
This is where my experience with Actionable mirrors the conversations I have every day. If you are fortunate you can go through life collecting experiences that position you to take advantage of the opportunity that is right for you, at that point in time, and allow it to take you to the next level. You can embrace change wholeheartedly and enjoy incredible results. But if you’re not willing to act when the right opportunity presents itself, what have you really been working toward?
It is the same with any business. If on some instinctual level you know you have found something that is going to revolutionize what you do, then you need to embrace change and throw yourself behind it.
Those skills that have gotten you where you are today are becoming more redundant by the day. The five day leadership courses where you impart your worldly knowledge and expect to be paid a huge amount are rapidly becoming irrelevant. I recently spoke to a consultant who discovered that she was being fact checked in real time as she presented a session. You are no longer the knowledge expert—the internet is the knowledge expert, and just about everyone you encounter has it in their pocket. If you add the fact that it is hard or impossible to prove the ROI of an events based session, and the increasing client demand to integrate learning in real time in the context of work, then you are going to struggle if you can’t find a way to adapt.
Things are changing fast, how you adapt to this new landscape, and how you make yourself available for changes is where the real opportunities will be coming in the next 10 years.
On the flip-side, those who are willing to adapt will provide their clients with a larger impact across a wider cross-section of an organization. This results in the consultant becoming a “trusted advisor in the boardroom,” due to their ability to provide their clients with hard data to justify the work that they are doing. And because they are impacting more people and justifying their results with data, it means they can charge more.
In your own life are you ready to take advantage of a business revolutionizing change—or are you happy, proudly staying on board a sinking ship, even when you know how to avoid the coming iceberg?
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