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Nearly 25% of companies will adapt to blockchain in the near future. The #MeToo Movement has HR departments everywhere re-evaluating their sexual misconduct policies. Tariff wars are making major waves in the global economy.

Change is everywhere and the ability to stay relevant and aware of new trends as they affect the society we live in is key to how you will show up in your career.

It’s one thing to be open to change, it’s another thing to stay on top of it.

We’ve all been there at one point or another where we said something at work that wasn’t very astute because we didn’t pay attention to current events. And since there are only 24 hours in a day it can be difficult to prioritize staying informed on current trends.

The reality is, we are all busy managing the already high expectations at work, which makes it difficult to simply pause, look up and evaluate what’s on the horizon.

Even worse, people often miss the opportunity to stay relevant simply by thinking they don’t have to change. They get stuck thinking it’s always about how the business or those around them have to change. Simply put, you must stay relevant or you’re at risk of how your opinions are valued in the workplace.

Today, I’ve put together a few insights that have withstood the test of vast change.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. It’s important to have an understanding of whether or not your team is already in tune with external change and their implications. In other words, you’ll need to determine whether or not you sit in the driver’s seat or in the passenger’s seat when it comes to raising awareness of important trends. The goal should be to take the driver’s seat as best you can – leading as the trusted guide your team can depend on for what’s to come.
  • Be the first to know and the first to share. Identify what rules are actually changing for your industry and find a way to communicate them to your team sooner than later. You can do this by simply forwarding a link to a relevant article or creating the initial outline of an execution plan. You’ll want to ensure what you communicate covers:
    • How it affects your customers. 
    • How it affects your organization. 
    • How it affects your team.   
  • Ask an expert. Sometimes understanding the dynamics of new trends is better left to the experts. In other words, think of who in your network can break down the complexities of a major shift and help you pave a strategic path forward for you and your team. You can hire a licensed or credentialed expert such as an economist or advisor to understand more pressing trends or you could ask a younger hire how to use a social media channel that just launched. Whomever the expert, be sure to ask early enough that you can stay ahead and be well prepared for the shift before it occurs.
  • Have an open mind. Before turning down an idea that seems far-fetched, run it past several other colleagues with varying backgrounds who can give you unbiased feedback. This means you shouldn’t ask those who will give you the most agreeable answer. You’ll want to intentionally hear out the opinions of those who have experienced different sides of the coin and open your mind to new and robust ideas — stretching beyond what you think is possible.
  • Lead by example. Finally, you’ll need to stay on top of seeing change through to a successful action. If you see that your company is saying one thing but they’re doing something else, be prepared to communicate the risks of doing so. For example, companies talk all the time about being diverse and valuing diverse thought, but if you’re sitting in a room with all white females, it contradicts your optimum vision. You’ll need to be deliberate and clear in communicating why this behavior inhibits the company’s goals.

When it comes to change, you simply have to always be prepared to answer the question, ‘How am I going to navigate this change successfully, maximizing what’s within my own influence and control?’. You can demonstrate new behavior your organization needs to implement to reach its stated goals. That’s how you can be a part of the change while simultaneously helping your organization flourish to new heights. It will position you as a solutions provider and a critical contributor during key decision-making conversations — avoiding irrelevance altogether.

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