Transcript #25. The new world of work: How to pivot your career in a crisis - with Marianne Roux

Click here to see the episode show notes. 

Renata:                Hello and welcome to the Job Hunting Podcast! My name is Renata Bernarde, I’m your host, and in this episode we are going to talk about the New World of Work. How to pivot your career in a time of crisis. This is really important right now, were going through covid-19, and the lockdown and the pandemic that is all encompassing and affecting all of our lives. Affecting most of our livelihood, and our work. And this can be listened to later on whenever there’s a crisis affecting your career as well. This is a very good episode to keep in your back pocket when you need it. This podcast is aimed at helping individuals, professionals who are going through career transition, who are job hunting or want a promotion, or want to have better skills to advance their careers and plan their career progression. So stick around and follow us on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube or better still, sign up for Reset Your Career and we will drop you the new episodes weekly in your inbox by email.

Renata:                So, for the past few weeks, we have talked about covid-19 a lot. In fact, the past two episodes, if you haven’t listened to them yet, they are great episodes to support job hunters and career enthusiasts during times of crisis. They’re the interview with Janet Sernack, an expert in VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) and she explains what VUCA is and how to thrive during times of VUCA. And we interviewed Gleb Tsipursky, who is a disaster avoidance expert, he’s a neuroscientist, behaviour economist, and he explained to us how to better prepare for train wreck situations as opposed to immediate emergencies. So how to manage your instincts to fight or flight, and actually take stock and be strategic about slow moving threats like the one that we’re living through right now.

Renata:                In this episode, I wanted to bring you a good friend of mine Marianne Roux, and her expertise is in the New World of Work. Marianne advises leaders and HR specialists all over the world on how to prepare their companies and government to adopt new strategies for work forces to thrive in the new economy, in the new world of work. And I’ve wanted to interview Marianne ages ago, we’ve booked again this interview before covid-19 and we’ve pivoted our discussion for the covid-19 situation. So I feel like I wanted to interview everybody again in let’s say a years’ time. But for now I think that her positive attitude, her no B.S. approach to things, and also her very worldly view, Marianne travels a lot. She advises and consults all over the world through her own company or on behalf of other consulting companies like Mercer for example. And her expertise is really important at this time when many of us have been made redundant, are currently without a job and what we want to do now is to be very strategic how we transfer our skills and prepare our skill sets or as she says, ‘prepare our back pack of skills’ to get ready for this new world of work that’s coming. So please listen to this podcast, and as I said before, keep in touch with us by supporting this podcast, signing up to Reset Your Career which is my community, and I will keep you up to date with all the information that you need, and tools that will better prepare you for the job market. And keep you up to date as well with services, online courses, and programs that I’ve put together that might be of benefit to you if you want to invest a little bit more in your career development. So without further ado, let’s listen to Marianne and I hope we keep in touch. Ciao for now.

Renata:                Tell me, how are you doing? How is covid-19 affecting you?

Marianne:           Renata, I'm doing really well. Obviously I'm very concerned about people, about their jobs, about their well-being, probably more than anything. I'm hoping that governments will do the right thing by them and that everybody in the community will help them. But you know, having run an online and face to face consulting firm for so long and having bought up thought leadership, I'm finding that, it's really almost seamless for me to move into this world. And, as I was saying to you earlier, I've actually signed up new clients so it isn't impossible. I think it is really possible to work in the new world of work, which is probably something I've done for quite a long time. As somebody said the other day, the world has progressed to 10 years in 10 days in terms of remote working.

Marianne:           And you know, also people just, I think caring for each other a lot more when they do interact virtually, being much more mindful. So I'm making sure that I'm connecting with people as I would have for coffee meetings. And I'm making sure that I'm getting my work done and any free time I have, I'm using for learning and catching up on research, which is such an incredible gift.

Renata:                Yes. That's the benefit of us being home and not having to commute. You have at least two hours to dedicate to something else or even to just rest from all of the overload of information that we're getting too right? And give ourselves permission to be human because its early days of the covid-19 epidemic that the time that we're recording this, but I guess once that's done and dusted, it's time to get on with life. Right? We spoke about this over the phone. Take some time to settle down and then get on with your life. Would you say that?

Marianne:           I would absolutely say that. I've said to people, I need you for a week or two to get through the shock and the grief and to set yourself up electronically. I've ordered some things to set myself up better. I've ordered a microphone which is on its way. I've ordered a standing desk so that I can, because my back is getting sore from sitting, even though we go for a walk every day. So I've set myself up, I have to sort out my office so that it's a much friendlier, happier place cause I haven't been here that much. There’s lots of piles of paper that needs to be sorted because then my mind can be a lot clearer. But it's, it's really, within two weeks you need to say, continue with my work, continue with my learning, continue with my meetings, continue with my check-ins. You have to be a little bit tough with yourself because I think there's too much information out there. If you look at Facebook and LinkedIn about how to rest and how to play games with your kids, you know, even your kids need a more structured day than that. They need to continue learning and playing and mixing it up. You've got to get back to the new normal quickly, and start to be productive and, and grow and learn again.

Renata:                Now, Marianne, you are an expert in the new world of work. When you were teaching others about the new world of work, did you ever imagine a situation like this, was this part of the scenarios that you, that was part of your training?


Marianne:           No, I mean this is a black Swan, right? This is what we call a Black Swan. It's something nobody saw coming or a wildcard as the futurists talk about. What I, as I said, what I do think has happened is that as I've tried to teach organisations and individuals about the new world of work, I've got quite a bit of complacency around it and quite a bit of slowness around it. And people just didn't want to take it up and understand that there are some, the things I thought was coming was automation of about, you know, 40% of tasks, not jobs, tasks, in the workplace. And augmentation of roles where we're using analytics to make better decisions than AI. That I could see disrupting us very clearly in the next three to five years. And I could also see environmental issues like the fires we had early in the year having a significant impact on business models and my clients were already in digital journeys, but we're all really struggling to get people to adapt to the new way.

Marianne:           So I didn't see it coming, but now what I'm seeing is people just have no choice. And I think that is a blessing in disguise, because I think it will have to speed up the new business models, it will have to speed up automation and augmentation, and it will have to scale up the responsibility each of us take to upskill and reskill ourselves, because we can. But we need a growth mindset for that. And that's probably the thing that I've been struggling with the most, is to just get people unstuck. To say, and also to believe that they can actually do things. Just to have more self-belief, more self-efficacy.

Renata:                I agree. One of the things that we've discussed in this podcast before is the social constructs of the work environment that sometimes are not conducive to changes, not conducive to women coming into employment more than they are now, or inequalities in diversity and inclusion and all of that. It's almost like that has all imploded. It has completely disappeared. I mean, 90% of Melbourne is at home, at the moment there is very little traffic in town. We're working completely different. Many of us have lost our jobs as well and we will need to reinvent our careers. So that gives us the opportunity now to speed up the new world of work, the future of the work that we will do. How do you, have you reflected on that and adjusted in your training to, incorporate that, speed of change that we're seeing today?

Marianne:           Yeah. I mean as I've been really lucky because it's in the last while I've been thinking about a dual model of delivery. So I do have a lot of clients that still wanted to see me face to face, but I started to put things in online learning. And what I've been able now to convince my clients, because I actually also want to fly less because I worry about, you know, I'm overseas 10 times a year. I'm, you know, in, in different cities all the time. I'm constantly on an aeroplane and as an environmentalist I find that extremely uncomfortable. And I've been successfully showing is that I work with an executive leadership team, defining their values and behaviours. Going through, you know, literally making decisions about it, refining it and getting ready to roll it out, in a two hour virtual session.

Marianne:           And I think the clients are suddenly going, Oh, my half day work sessions, I'm doing two 90 minute webinars through zoom and I can record it. And anyone that's missed it can go and watch it. My full day session are four 90 minute webinars. I get playbooks out for people, they're on the phone with each other in twos working by the side. And everybody's actually saying to me, they're much more focused. They’re less distracted than they usually are on the workshop when they're on their phones and on their laptops. And so it's not that hard to reimagine how you run a meeting, how you run a workshop. I’m even just about to go onto designing, co-creating a leadership development programme for global leaders around the world, using design thinking online, in a collaborative platform.

Renata:                That's amazing. Marianne, how, how did you arrive at this career of being an expert in the new world of work? Tell us a little bit about you. I mean, you come from South Africa, there's a, there is a red flag there behind you, the red flag that shows exactly your origin, with a Mandela poster behind you. So tell us a little bit about your career and what led you to become an expert in the new world of work?

Marianne:           Well, early on in my life I wanted to be a journalist, so I studied journalism. So I think that's always stayed with me in terms of telling stories of what's going on in the world. And that's really important for me. And seeking context and staying on top of what's happening. I think that that skill we’re now trying teach leaders of sensing and responding is something that from an early age I had but also was role modelled to me by my dad very, very strongly. Who was a businessman, but always made us read the economist at the time, make us see from, I think when I was about 12, I can recall. You know, so those kind of conversations at home was very much not internal focus, but external focus, looking at what's happening. Then I kind of swayed and became an organisational psychologist.

Marianne:           So I took the journalism and the business psychology pieces and put that together. And as South Africa was transitioning, I come from a family that was very concerned about helping the transition. I hated inequality. I hate it. For me it was so important to create organisations that care for their people, nations that care for their people, nations that give people opportunities. And somewhere around 21, 22 with some of the influence from behind me, I realised that for me the key was leadership. And so I started getting really interested in leadership and I find that when I’m interested, I read all the time. I read a book a week, I started reading on leadership. And I've got to the point where I realised that leadership's in a system, and I got really interested in what systems develop my systems thinking. So I had the storytelling, I had the behavioural science, I had the leadership, but then I said, let me think about the system, the systems and organisation, the systems in an environment.

Marianne:           So, and that's what keeps me going is making sure that I understand the context that leader's leading. That I can help them and HR and people like that, really navigate that context, make sense and meaning for them of it so that they can respond in ways that are really helpful. And as I went through my career, first as a consultant and then as a business school professor, and as an HR director, it just kept on pointing me towards helping people make sense, educating, teaching, facilitating, coaching people to help them be the best they can be in the best, most sustainable organisations they can be.

Renata:                Yes. And, and then the new world of work.

Marianne:           The new world of work for me was very interesting. I'm very indebted, you know, my PhD research is all about leadership in the fourth industrial revolution and leadership development in the fourth industrial revolution. Of course, that once you start researching the fourth industrial revolution, it takes you all down the journey of AI, machine learning, automation.

Marianne:           So, you know, when you do a PhD you have to do an incredible literature survey. So I probably spent four years looking at this research and I interviewed 24 experts and one of them is Professor Mary Uhl-Bien, and she's in Texas. And she worked with GM on adaptive space and she was amazing because she's a complexity expert and I'm incredibly interested in complexity. And she said to me, Marianne, since 2014, the world has changed significantly. None of the current organisation models work. None of the current operations, skills need to change. And it was that conversation that got me even more interested in the new world of work. And really, I started to look at the work she was doing with micro arena at general motors. And then trying to understand, I'm also always thinking about how I can help my country. So I'm always thinking about, what can I do for nations that are developing and developed?

Marianne:           So again, I spoke to some amazing people and you learn so much and you know, who actually teaches me the most, it's my social entrepreneurs in Africa, the female social entrepreneurs. The young people in Africa I’m working with who are both in these purpose driven businesses, which is where I think we need to go using technology. So there are these amazingly smart young people with so much energy doing things that make money for the organ, for the communities first, nothing else first. And then using mobile technologies. So I've seen it in action as well. I've really immersed myself when it’s happening. I also work in Saudi Arabia on vision 2013. Things are, you know, I'm seeing the new world of work in action long before it's even come to Australia. So it helps.

Renata:                So let's start there because we do have listeners in Africa and Southeast Asia and the Middle East. I know this cause, you know, metrics for everything these days. So for countries that are developing and growing their economies, and they're, you know, concerned about the, new world of work and their ability to keep up with developing countries and technologies. What have you be, you go to countries a lot, those countries a lot and you talk to leaders and you train teams. What is it that you would like to give as advice for job hunters and people that are planning their careers and they live in developing countries? What's the message to them?

Marianne:           I'm actually not concerned about them. I'm actually more concerned about developed countries cause what I see is that, you know, A. They are much younger. Remember in Saudi Arabia for example, when I work 50% of the population is under 25, it's a, it's the same in Africa. So they’re not in the ageing populations that we have in Europe and Australia and places like that. So what I love about people there is what we need to help with is to give opportunities and access. People there, have a strong growth mindset. That is your strength people, the fact that you so curious the fact that you want to learn. What we might need to make sure of, and I've got a fantastic, and I'm going to do a shout out now to one of my social entrepreneurs in Cameroon, Anshel. Who has developed EduClick, which is an online edutick company in Africa.

Marianne:           And right now as we speak, she's giving access to children to learn online and people to learn online in this covid-19 situation. And there are many angels out there. I've been to London with the top engineers that have won awards. They are on top of this technology. They have strong growth mindsets. Use your ability people in those developing countries, use your youth, get them involved, they understand digital, they understand how to build businesses. You need to mentor the younger people and how to build these businesses. For me, the future in those countries is much more about entrepreneurship and companies granting jobs. And so develop your entrepreneurial skills do those courses online. You know, you often have nothing to lose in those countries, so try things out. One of the problems, scale your businesses come together to work together in ecosystems because you're too small to make an impact and you're not getting enough funding.

Marianne:           So let me just, I'll come back to formal jobs, but let me just for a moment say. I think the future of those places are entrepreneurship. It’s those young people with their strong digital skills and growth mindset. Make sure you've got good mentors, make sure you're scanning up your businesses. For other job hunters, for me, the most important thing is to understand what skills, I'm going to give the story that my friend always talks about because she chat she co works with me in, in Saudi Arabia. She says, imagine you have a skills backpack carry around with you. It's your behaviours, it's your attitudes, it's all your knowledge, all your skills, all the tools you have in it. It is worth something. How much is that backpack worth in the market? How much do people want your backpack? If your backpack is not worth much and too many people have the same backpack as you, you are not going to find a job easily.

Marianne:           You have to make sure that the backpack you are carrying is made up of skills and behaviours and attitudes that people need and want. So they kind of two avenues with an edge. If you look at the new world of work, one is I need to get better at digital and data and analytics and design thinking and those kinds of skills and there are a lot of free courses that you can do right now. Everybody can do the IDEO course, it's free right? That you can do to both your design thinking analytics. My husband's in his 50s doing a master's in data science to make sure that his skills backpack stays up to date. If that skills back pack, is out of date, you're in trouble.

Marianne:           Secondly, the other stream of work, if you're not data savvy, is relationships. It's healthcare, its aged care. It's all those things. It means that we can take postal workers in Japan and turn them into people that are checking in on the elderly to check for their wellbeing. Right? Both those sort of skills, both those sorts of, even now maybe you can volunteer even in somewhere just to build those skills. And UK currently has 500,000 people working in NHS. And I would say that whether you're in a developed country or developing, but in a developing country, I think there's more opportunity for entrepreneurship. There's a lot of opportunity for that. So really think about that.

Renata:                And what about, Australia, you know, and countries like Australia. We, you and I live here. We, and you and I moved to Australia to for, I think. Very similar reasons. I mean happy for you, kind of go into that a little bit. But basically for me it was to, feel safer and, and raise my family in a safer environment. That safety comes at a cost. That safety makes you complacent. And I didn't realise that until I got here. So there is a, there used to be who knows now, right? We, we’re sort of, it's a wait and see situation, but, it makes you very wary of change and that disruption in innovation that we see sometimes in other countries, faster adoption of technologies. Here, it takes a little longer and it can be very frustrating. And I have found that even when I talk to public servants or politicians that have been quite ignited to enable those changes. After a few months down the track, in their tenure, in their jobs, they, they gave up almost. You know, the lack of tax incentives, the likes of, lack of government support and, the high reliance on education side of the higher education business. It, all of that have contributed to us feeling like there is, less innovation here in, the corporate environment. Then we, you and I see when we go overseas. Is that, is that right for you as well? Is that what you see?

Marianne:           And it's not just for me. I was doing a range of speeches, a while back from fragile to agile for leaders here in Australia for about a hundred, business leaders. I had a Swiss professor in economics, give some data and he was talking about the competitiveness of Australia. And we do quite well. We do punch above our weight, but there are three areas that are dragging us down. And the one area is entrepreneurship. There's a very low level of entrepreneurship here. I think that's a real opportunity. Like you say, there's not a lot to support entrepreneurs here and that's really problematic. Having said that, again, I've worked with amazing immigrants who've come to Australia who are getting it right. So I feel it's a bit of learned helplessness around that.

Marianne:           Lack of innovation is the second one. There's just not enough. Whether that's digital or word ever money going into innovation, fast enough. And the third one was how government and business work together, which I thought was a fascinating one. You have a lot of other countries where government and business work much, much closer together. You could already see here the federated system is one of the biggest problems we have here because, so easily people would go, but that's a federal issue or that's a local issue. Things like health right now is very difficult to navigate. Education, closing schools or not closing schools because it's being done at a state level. It makes it incredibly hard. So, so there’s that. I think secondly, if you start to read up a little bit on leadership research for Australia, the complacency is real, because it has gone well for a very long time with the mining boom and everything else just around the mining boom, just grew the supermarkets, the service providers. Now that's gone.

Marianne:           There hasn't been enough of a pivot. It's become too reliant and now we've been exposed on tourism and international students. And now that's,

Renata:                It has been heavily affected by the covid-19.

Marianne:           And as much as I'm feeling very sorry for those industries, I think it's an incredible lack of call for Australia to say you cannot rely on tourism and international students for a strong growing economy. It can be part of the mix, but it cannot be that. The other thing I think is even now, and I feel very sorry for people missing cues, but they are a lot of organisations hiring right now. Telstra, BHB, Coles, Hoovers. I would rather let them queue outside there, than immediately go to the government queue. There’s a sense in Australia that the government is going to sort this out. Right? And I really feel that we need to take responsibility now more than ever on building our own backpacks and not wait for the government to back it and really start to think about what else can we do to become more independent? And that's one of the things that's helpful about my business. I'm not dependent on anybody in the government for anything. I run my business globally. It's not a difficult thing to do if you really have a growth mindset and some grit, and you’re willing to really put in the work that's required. It does take effort and like the old black saying high performance is uncomfortable, live with it.

Renata:                Yes. Now if you are somebody who has recently lost your job here in Australia or anywhere in the world, let's think about, you know, as far as we can reach with this podcast, which is quite global. For the next three months, what would the best plan be for somebody who has a little bit of a safety net and can withstand three months? I will explain why I'm asking you this question. I have been of course receiving a lot of calls, private messages, DMs because I'm a career coach and people know me for that. So I'm on social media a lot and I invite people to contact me and they have been contacting me more now than ever before to share with me that they've just been made redundant. They've never have been without a job before. They need a resume right now. They need to build a resume right now and find another job right now.

Renata:                My reaction to that is I think you need some time to grieve. I think you need some time to settle and reflect on what your next career move will be. Unless you are in a situation where you financially feel that you cannot withstand two or three months. Ideally you would be doing reviewing your plans, your career plans and career progression because we are not going to go back to what life was in February, 2020. Life will be different. What would you add to that Marianne? I'm happy for you to be devil's advocate here and provide a completely different scenario because right now I think we need to brainstorm ideas but really want your views.

Marianne:           The first two weeks I would spend, well I would have a Workday every day. I would get up, I would shower, I would get out of my pyjamas. I would get into something that looks good. I would put my makeup on, I would brush my hair and I would start my day from nine to five and I would have tea breaks, lunches and tea breaks. But the first two weeks I would make sure that I understand everything I'm entitled to and everything that I can possibly do to stabilise my financial situation. Whether you've got three months or not. So can you have mortgage repayments stored? Can you have talked to your accountant? Don't try do it yourself. Go onto your government websites. Make sure that everything, a lot of people are not accessing it. It's really interesting they, they're fluffing around. I need you from nine to five for the first two weeks to get everything you're entitled to, to make sure that whatever can be moved so that whatever stress you have control over, you get under control.

Marianne:           Then sort out a beautiful office for yourself also in the next two weeks. And then employ yourself for the next three months and gave yourself a job title, whether it's Chief Learning Officer of Marianne Roux Inc., whatever it is, employ yourself. And then say to yourself, for the next three months, I'm going to have, you know, even with deep work, we say this to people, what is my day going to look like? What does my week going to look like? So I'm going to spend some part of my day building networks. So having zoom coffee meetings with people, I might spend some part of my day learning, doing one hour of learning or reading, right? So I might say half a day I'm going to both network. Half a day, I'm going to have some learning. The next half day I might spend once a week cause I don't want you going to overdrive once a week for half a day I might look at new job opportunities that might have come up just to make sure I still have my finger in the pie.

Marianne:           But I'm going to have a week where I'm going to exercise. I’ve got time for exercise, I’ve got time for learning, I’ve got time for networking, time to block some of my ideas out so that people get to know me a bit better. And you know, and time to, really do a little bit of job seeking. If you’re sitting there every day, not getting up, sitting in your pyjamas, getting on job sites, there are no jobs, the jobs have gone down, you're going to go into this downward spiral. I would also add half a day for volunteering because this is the best thing that's going to get you out of the slump is to go and buy groceries for somebody who needs it.

Marianne:           You will feel helpful. You'll feel meaningful. Do what you need to do to keep your spirits up and watch the news once a day, 30 minutes max. So that's all you need. And make sure you're having your dinner. So, don't sit there till 2:00 AM in the morning watching box. You are not on holiday. You're employing yourself into a job and you've got to keep that mindset. This is true for anybody who's lost their job or have been made redundant this time or another. You've got to have that mindset. It will come right. And it depends what your skills backpack and attitude and energy levels are going to look like. Are you going to be ready to take off again at that point stronger and better than before?

Renata:                I love the idea of the backpack. It's not part of my Seven Step framework for the Job Hunting Made Simple course, but what you've just detailed so well is definitely a routine that I would encourage as well. And I have been encouraging for people that have been made redundant or are trying to get into back into the workforce. I've interviewed, I think I mentioned to you, Gleb who is an organisational psychologist and disaster avoidance expert and what he explained to me, because I told him, everybody that calls me wants me to build them a resume like for yesterday. And I'm trying to convince them to take a break from that and to invest in themselves and then strategically and building a career with purpose and intent. Not just, you know, a knee jerk reaction to, to losing your job and trying to immediately replace it with something else.

Renata:                And he said, something really interesting. He compared it with a tiger, you know, the idea of the flight and fight situation that our instincts only have been designed to fight the tiger and not for a moving, train wreck that we have at the moment which is slow and we can't really actually see it. And, this is not an emergency. It's not an emergency. It's not going to go away in two days, this is going to be with us for a long time and you better get used to it and treat it as the new normal.

Marianne:           Embrace the uncertainty is, is what I think is important and by the way this, if you put that in your skills backpack that you're comfortable with uncertainty, the future of work will be a breeze for you.

Renata:                Good. Yes. Wonderful. Marianne, thank you so much for joining the podcast. I've been really keen to interview you for a few months now. I'm so glad it happened. You're a wonderful friend and a great expert. I will put the links below on the episode show notes for your LinkedIn, for your, website. Is there anything else that you would like to promote? You have a free course, maybe we should link that.

Marianne:           Yes, I think we should link the free course for people the new world of work free course. It's about 45 minutes and you really give people the sense that could be part of their learning. And also I think that they can go onto the website. There's a whole lot of blogs if they want to read something. So its and they can go on there and just have a bit of a read. And they can also meet with me on LinkedIn. I'm very happy to accept, their LinkedIn invites.

Renata:                I will make sure all the links are in the episode show notes. Thank you Marianne.

Marianne:           Thank you. Bye bye.




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