To Grow You Must Reinvent: A Lesson from Drucker

by Michael Haberman on January 24, 2011 · 0 comments


I have a number of friends and acquaintences who are looking for new positions, some in HR  and some not. Several of them are having difficulty for a couple of different reasons. Age is one, but that is the subject for another post. (hmmm maybe tomorrow.) Skill set and knowledge set is another. If you are one of the “long-term” unemployed you may now be obsolete. It is disheartening, but if you have done nothing to improve you are behind. Drucker, in The Daily Drucker, says

Knowledge and skill differ in a fundamental characteristic- skills change very, very slowly. Knowledge, however, changes itself . It makes itself obsolete, and very rapidly. A knowledge worker becomes obsolescent if he or she does not go back to school every three or four years.”

Drucker wrote that statement in 1995. I am not so sure it is entirely accurate today. Because of advances in technology I think skills change much more rapidly than in the past. New engineering makes changes that are so radical that your skill set may even be no longer necessary. Knowledge becomes obsolete even quicker. Restudying every three or four years may put you behind. That is why constant studying is necessary and it is built into many recertification processes.

I get distressed by people who tell me they don’t read in their field or even outside their field. They tell me they don’t have “time” to read blogs, or newsletters and certainly not books. To me it is not an option. For you to survive you have to improve and improving means knowing more and being capable of doing more. To thrive you have to go beyond that level. As Drucker says “You have to make something different out of yourself, rather than just find a new supply of energy.”

So if you are struggling think about “re-inventing” yourself. And even if you are not struggling think about it as well. If you are not moving forward you are moving backwards in today’s work environment.

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