Stay Relevant

The field of communications is ever evolving. We are surrounded with multiple new disruptive discoveries that have the potential to upset the basics of communications. In this changing world, how do we stay relevant? Are we ready?

Evaluate your options

Let us begin by evaluating our current possible options within the same organisation. That, to most of us would seem to be the most obvious start. After all, why not look for new opportunities at the same workplace? Three options can be evaluated:

  • Similar role in different business – for those who work in large organisations that house multiple verticals, this can be an exciting change. Communications is fundamental to all businesses. 
  • Different role or function in the same business – may sound daunting at first. Not really so. The competencies of a communicator can be a great fit in just about any function.
  • Different role or function in a different business – this one needs a risk taker. Are you one? Toppling the apple cart isn’t easy but it has its own rewards. Why not try a cross functional role?

The learnings that you pick up from your various jobs can be applied in any new setting. Let that be your guiding principle when you evaluate your options.

Upskill

In a recent speed mentoring session that I was part of as a mentor, the key question that came to me was – ‘how do I take up a new role when I don’t know if I will make a success of it or not?’ Well, you will never know till you try it out. To help you prepare, read about the role and what it demands. Talk to the experts. Join an online course to equip yourself with new knowledge and skills. Network. If you want your passion to lead you, harness your passion to achieve your dream.

Prashant Pandey, Country Manager at Right Management India lists four critical areas in which we either need to hone our skills or upskill ourselves.

  • Digital skills – these range from the ability to use social media to the ability to work virtually. In the world of gig economy, a designated office space is soon becoming passé. Do you have it in you to connect digitally and virtually?
  • Agile thinking skills – this is not just about being fluid. It is about how good you are at dealing with complexity and ambiguity. It is about your ability to see the ‘big picture’.
  • Communication skills – inherent to our profession but needs to be widened to include collaboration and co-creativity.
  • Global operating skills – are you able to work in multiple overseas locations? Have you leapt at the opportunity of doing a global short term assignment? Done job shadowing? Equip yourself with skills that help you handle cultural issues?

Self-reflect

The other day a colleague of mine casually mentioned that he had not updated his resume for over 20 years! He had never felt the need to do so. Updating your resume is not a mere exercise in mapping your career journey. It is also about self-reflection. When you list down your expertise, knowledge and achievements, you are actually reflecting on your strengths and the skills and competencies that you bring to the table. 

There can be many people who have strengths that resonate with ours. Hence, we need to think of our strengths from a demand supply view – what is our USP? How can we use our signature strengths in new ways? Self-reflection can be one of the most powerful pathways to stay relevant.

Cultivate better habit

Goal visualisation is a powerful tool that aids creating a growth mindset. But we often entangle ourselves by thinking of obstacles that come in the way of achieving our goals. What if we were to do this the other way around? Mental contrasting is the art of first thinking of positive outcomes followed by obstacles. The app ‘WOOP’ (wish, outcome, obstacles, plan) can help you navigate difficult situations. WOOP is very simple to use with easy steps to follow and imbibe. You can learn all about WOOP through the internet.

Stay relevant by shaping your environment and designing your outcomes effectively!

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head Communications & Public Affairs (CPA) at Bayer - South Asia
Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, trade associations, MNCs and the not-for-profit.
An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specialises in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications.
She is passionate about animals, books and movies.

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