A Bothersome Thought – You Can Be The Best, and Still Be At Great Risk

There is a human cost to our VUCA world — to changing oil prices, and changing shopping patterns…

Let’s try a thought experiment.

Imagine that you are a dedicated, hard-working, smart, on the road to constant improvement kind of person. You have a top 5% work ethic. You know as much about your field as the best of the best. People come to you for advice. You are known as a model for how you work, how you lead people, how you think…

And then, circumstances change, and all of that insight and training and experience cannot stop the avalanche – people are simply moving away from your product or service, and your very future is threatened.

You did everything right. But the tide turned against you.

I think of this as I read the news.

Right now, there must be a large and growing number of oil field experts whose jobs are suddenly precarious.

And if the price of oil stays low for too long, so too will research and development folks in the field of alternative energy suddenly find their future threatened.

Or… imagine that you are an exceptional store manager. That requires quite a skill set. I bet some of the best store managers on the planet, in the history of store managers, have worked at Sears stores. Today, they all find themselves (not so) suddenly threatened.

This is just an observation. I have no fix; no formula. But I think that this should remind us that in spite of our devotion to training, to becoming educated, and then our commitment to constant improvement, and our to-be-admired work ethic, we still have no guarantee. Sometimes, the winds of the age just make changes all around us that we do not quite know how to prepare for, or how to handle.

But, this morning, I’m thinking about the people worried about their future – a future that they thought, just a few months ago, looked long-lasting and very promising.


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