Transcript #38. A lesson in personal agility - with New World of Work Expert Marianne Roux.

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Renata:                Few weeks ago, Marianne Roux and I caught up for the second time for this podcast. The first time we spoke, it was when the COVID pandemic had just started, and we discussed how to help job hunters during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a great opportunity for me to share with the listeners of The Job Hunting Podcast a great talk with somebody who is an expert in the New World of Work. So Marianne Roux advises, consults, and facilitates training to organizations all over the world on how to deal with changes in the workforce that are to do with jobs of the future, artificial intelligence, and all of the changes in the industrial world that will affect the way that we work as teams, as corporations around the globe.

Renata:                 She advises and helps organizations and their employees adjust to changes as they happen, and prepare them for changes that are coming 10 years, 20 years from now. So little did we know that some of the changes that she has been forecasting and advising her clients would be knocking at our door in 2020, much faster and sooner than previously thought it would. And this has been a great opportunity for us to catch up with Marianne yet again. So in the first episode, where we spoke to Marianne, it was number 25 if you want to go back and listen to that one first. We had this conversation about how to help job hunters, people that have been made unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic, how they could then adjust their routines and prepare themselves for job hunting during the pandemic. That was a great conversation, a very important one. One that brings inspiration, confidence, motivation, but also real research. And facts and figures that would help you prepare for your job hunting routine.

Renata:                This time we reviewed and revised what has been happening to both of us in the past couple of months, and how she feels her clients are responding to it, how we feel the world is responding to it. And it was a good opportunity for both of us to catch up, it’s something that as coaches and consultants we have to do from time to time anyway, and the podcast gives me the platform to share that conversation with you so that you can take away from it things that may help you with your job hunting, and plan your career as well.

Renata:                So like always feel free to get it touch with me if you have any questions or ideas, you can contact me directly to help you with your career planning as a coach. And I also have a group on Facebook, it’s a private group for job hunters, and inside that group I can answer any questions that you may have and facilitate group discussions and conversations that are private. So I urge you to join the group, if you are job hunting or interested in developing your career further. If you have found this podcast in iTunes, or Spotify, or YouTube, remember to subscribe and follow. There are always great episodes coming up for job hunters and career enthusiasts. So stick around and follow, and also sign up to my newsletter because if you do, I will send the podcast and any other content that I do directly to your inbox every week, I only tend to send you one email a week. And also a whole bunch of resources and tools when you first sign up, so if you’re job hunting it might be a good idea to get those free resources to help you.

Renata:                 So without further ado, I hope you enjoy the chat with Marianne. She is a real treat to talk to, and I urge you to pay attention and take notes, and I hope that it helps you with your career planning and advancement. Bye for now.

Renata:                How are you doing? So last time we met for the podcast, it podcast number 25. I'm going to add the link in the episode show notes. And it was the beginning of the pandemic. And we discussed how it was going to bring forward some of the changes in the workforce and the new world of work that you have been studying and preparing for. But we just didn't, you know, see this coming as you know, as being introduced via a pandemic. What have you observed since then as somebody who studies this and is an expert in the new world of work, what have you been observing in the workforce since we last spoke Marianne?

Marianne:           I actually think a lot of things have changed since we've last spoken. I think that, there's a lot more urgency now. The first bit was what I call respond. People are now in recovery. They're not in thrive yet, but they're in recovery. Now is the time they've got to make some really tough choices. Do we thrive in the same way we did before? Or do we thrive in a different way? So I can see my clients starting to think about that. And what's happening is a kind of a 12 month reset of priorities and people doing quite different work, which I think will partly lead to them, changing their operating models and the way they work and the returning to the bits that did work for them. So I think they're in this recovery trying to figure out how to do the hybrid working, but I'm seeing jobs being filled much faster. I'm seeing job ads going out, but I'm seeing it for very different jobs. I think everybody, the things they thought they needed before, are not the things they think they need now.

Marianne:           So if I was a job seeker right now, I'd make very sure what is it? They're definitely looking for like safety and wellbeing roles have gone through the roof because nobody was prepared for that part of human resources. Right? Well, enough mental health is suddenly an issue. Physical safety is suddenly an issue for people who are not on factory floors in, in minds. So they're having to think that office layout is suddenly a huge issue. So the facilities people are being looked for. They're looking for the supply chains have been messed up. They're looking for supply chain people. They're looking for digital people, a lot more digital people. So there's a change of skills and jobs they're looking for. That's quite clear to me, as well as splitting their teams now into recovery teams and innovation teams, teams that are thinking about the step beyond recovery.

Marianne:           I'd also add that black lives matter has added another dimension to the workplace because what you're seeing now is CEOs and companies standing up for social issues. So you just don't see corporate social responsibility anymore. You're seeing corporate social action. You're seeing people taking a stand. You're seeing people take their ads or Facebook, like Patagonia this morning. You're seeing leaders stand up for things. And I think that's changing the way that young people especially are perceiving their workers, their employers. So they, this purpose thing and the social action thing, that's also coming a lot stronger and I predict there'll be more jobs in that social action space in corporates than ever before. And the final thing is the university's response in doubling humanities degrees and having other degrees, which I think is completely the wrong thing to do, because I think it's a short term reaction knee jerk.

Marianne:           I agree with lowering some, I don't agree with increasing the others. I think that human skills have never been more important. And I think that there's, that's going to be an interesting format in the workplace in the next couple of years as well.

Renata:                It's very interesting how the issues seem to be compounding on top of each other. And I wonder when we're going to start integrating them, you know, and in building that synergy that I really haven't yet seen, it's almost like we have being treating issues in isolation instead of integrating them. When I was at Monash University as director of enterprise, one of the things that I was very lucky to do, I went twice to San Francisco for meetings. And in one of those times, I went to Ford research centre at Stanford. And it was, this is very telling because it was a Monash alum, a Chinese international student who had studied in Australia did not get an R and D job in Australia.

Renata:                I wonder why was then at the Silicon Valley running an amazing project within the Ford technology centre inside Stanford campus? And the first thing that I asked him, I remember this well, because I was dying to find out. I said, who have you been hiring? It was a new project. And he said, Oh, we've just hired a whole bunch of master of education graduates. Yes. And my eyes just went what? And he went on and now we are looking at anthropologists. Everybody in the Silicon Valley is hiring ethnographies and anthropologists and humanities, philosophers, ethicists, because we have the technologists. We now need to make sure that we are educating the machines properly. And then like I had no idea that this was happening. So that lack of synergy between the scientific community and the humanities community. Absolutely. And I see that connection back to Monash. I didn't, didn't see that happening here.

Marianne:           No, it's not happening. And I see a future interdisciplinary really strong, you know, there's one university now in London where you can study becoming a doctor and international development in one degree so that you can become a doctor in international development. You don't have to become a doctor and then go and study another degree in international development. You can combine those things with each other and we need this kind of interdisciplinary world. And we are taking some really short knee jerk reactions here in Australia. We're also going after a very manual jobs in the recovery of the economy, we're going off to very much tradies and construction. We're not going after renewable energy and those kinds of things to really bring about a significant economic shift. So, you know, it's, it is absolutely, as you say, and I don't think the recruiters have in any way caught up to this message either in terms of what they should be looking for.

Marianne:           But I also think, and what I wrote down when I looked at your questions is I don't think the job seekers have sold themselves well enough in their narrative about what it is they bring more holistically to the table.

Renata:                I agree. It's one of the things that made me pull the job hunting made simple online course when COVID started and I'm putting back it again. And if people want to register, they can go online and register for it. There's a whole new list of capabilities and a new understanding of, you know, you, you like the word superpowers. I like the word superpowers, but the idea that your superpowers could be hidden all the way down in your resume and you need to fish it out and bring that to the foreshore. And, you know, a lot of new, interesting ways of positioning yourselves for remote work and remote management and leadership in a few different things that I want to be at the forefront of as well as a coach helping my clients.

Renata:                So I'm bringing that course with that new positioning in a few weeks’ time. So I'll put the link below when it's ready for, for enrolment, but you're absolutely right. One of the things that I shared with my community today, because I send out a newsletter every week, I found on IBIS world, which is an international market research firm, a list of industries to call and a list of interest industries to not call at this time in COVID, and as you know, IBIS world is fantastic and identify very segmented industries and sectors. And it's a fantastic list it's built for sales and business development, but it serves a great purpose at helping job seekers, understand which industries are doing well. And there are opportunities there and they're open for business and which ones aren't, you know, and list is from mid April. But I think it's still very spot on and useful to understand in many of the sectors you mentioned are on this list. So I'm going to add the link to the episode, show notes as well.

Marianne:           You've got to keep up, like I've already updated all my materials because of just what's happening socially and health wise. And you have to keep, like, I have to keep learning. I have to keep adapting my materials, my advice from my clients, things, I think they were not ready for their suddenly ready for. So, you know, you have to keep learning. You cannot stop and that's that growth mindset, right?

Renata:                It is. And I think that what you have created now, which is this actionable success journal, and this is why I want it. You back on the podcast is fantastic. And you, this week or last week posted an article on Facebook, you wrote an article on not sorry, Facebook, LinkedIn, about personal agility and basically summarising, the reasons why this journal is so important. And I want to you to address that, but it's almost like it was meant to be that this booklet came out at the time. It did. I know you weren't expecting the situation to be, you know, as complicated as it is now. We've been talking about complexity and uncertainty and ambiguity for quite some time, but gosh, it's so timely, isn't it?

Marianne:           Yes, it is. And I, you know, I had some people who saw it and saw the need for it, but suddenly it's like, everyone needs it. It's so critical. It's so urgent now. Right.

Renata:                Can you define personal agility for those who would like a proper definition of it?

Marianne:           Yeah. So let me first say that you can't have an agile organisation If you can’t have agile individuals, you can't have or agile leaders, right? So it starts at an individual level. So that's why I wrote the book. You know, a lot of people talk about, we want to be an agile organisation. I want to be an agile leader, but they do nothing on the inside to really create the, the groundwork for that to occur. And so if you think about it, that there's different kinds of skills, right? So you get skills that are your technical skills, your functional skills, but then you get skills that I call meta skills, skills that I can take into anything that I do, whether I'm a parent, whether I'm, you know, whatever it is in my life, I can use these meta skills and these meta skills create like a holding pattern for me within which I can thrive in complexity and disruption and not just survive and try and cope on a daily basis, which is what a lot of people are feeling.

Marianne:           So how do I get out of this exhaustion and this grabbing at little straws and trying to do short term little fixes and get myself onto a long-term thriving plan. And the behaviors and mindsets, which is what they are. They're not traits. We'll talk about that. I chose six of them and they take a long time to develop, and I broke it down into 140 micro learning bites so that people can read the thing, then go back and do them one at a time and just sink themselves into it. Let's say you take 140 weeks to just read through one at a time, think how it applies to your life. Take a little action, because it's a lot of little actions over a long period of time that builds these meta skills. And for me, it's just really critical that we create that base in our children, in our young people and in our organisations right now.

Renata:                Yeah. And you mentioned traits before and, and you know, it was something that I wanted to address with you because so many people are set in their ways and there's even that expression that we use all the time that you're set to do in your way. And many of the job seekers out there are in their late forties, fifties, and sixties. So that concept of personal agility may be very overwhelming for them. How do you address personal agility with a more seasoned professional who may have been set in their ways for a long time and feel quite challenged by the idea of being dynamic and agile?

Marianne:           So I first want to say I'm truly not a fan of traits and personalities. I think people hide behind them. The number of times people have done an MBTI and come to me and said, I could do that. I'm an introvert. And I'm like, no, of course you can. You just need to learn the behaviours and skills that go with doing a presentation. You're probably much better than the extroverts at listening to people. So how are you going to use that superpower? You know, it's interesting in terms of understanding yourself, but it's not an excuse to continue the same behaviours and habits. And the big piece that changed everything was the fact that our brains are plastic and that we can change our neural pathways. And the moment we understood that when we started to do narrow research, which is much more from the nineties onwards, all these trait and neuro theories, are from honestly the 20s, 30s, 40s, we are not living in those times anymore. We are now in 2020, we have plastic brains. We've seen that with, you know, I have 80 year old parents that continuously learn and grow and are incredibly curious and read their economist and time magazine every week and decided this year, they need to learn a new language.

Marianne:           For me, it's a complete mindset and attitude and assumptions that you make. Are you willing because you're going to live for a very long time, maybe two, a hundred years. And you're 40 now, which tells me you've got 60 years later, longer than what you've lived so far. Are you willing to take the next 60 years with the same old habits and hiding behind the same things and constantly feel exhausted and challenged by this new world of work, or are you actually willing to sit towards the discomfort where the growth is and lean into it and actually make that shift for yourself to really thrive in the next 60 years.

Renata:                That's great, and Marianne. And I think that adds to my leading question, which was about the first of the 140 topics when I opened it. And I don't know if I can quickly find it. Oh, here it is. The new world of work is tech, oh is it the first one? It is, the new world of work is technology driven and complex. If you want to thrive, you need to step up and use your superpowers to become more complex yourself. What do you mean by that? To become more complex, to catch up with the technology?

Marianne:           I think that we all are just a little version of what our capability and potential is. And because we stay in that lane so strongly, we never become the best version of ourselves. And we've got quite a narrow repertoire of responses. You can absolutely become a big, the best version of yourself. We're not asking you to become someone else. We're asking you just step in and become the best version of yourself and to broaden the repertoire of responses, the repertoire of things you listened to, learn about, lean into, and you'll find it's not nearly as confronting as you think it is.

Marianne:           What you'll find is all these different places that you can step into and things about yourself that was always there, but you didn't know it was there. This skills and abilities that you never knew about. Some people have never looked at their strengths. Never. I've never thought about whether they working from these strengths. You know, those things are life changing.

Renata:                Do you think you identify your superpowers that you already have, and then you continuously develop them or do you look at the environment and you identify what's needed there? What the gaps are and the opportunities are. And then you, you start working on those that are most needed.

Marianne:           It's a combination of both. I was saying to someone yesterday, your peak potential zone sits between your strengths, abilities and your passions and purpose, right? So a lot of people have never figured out their passions and purpose, but your passions and purpose has got to be some, there's got to be a use for that in the world. It's like, if you're a start-up, you might have a great idea, but did the customers actually want your product? Right? So once you have figured out your strengths and passions, you go into the market and you look at what the need and the niches for you. And you combine those two. Somebody said to me yesterday, she comes out of it, but she wants to go into health. You know who it is probably. And I said to her, well, you can work in health tech, right? You can go back in, combine your passion and purpose and start reskilling yourself in that new world of work, right? Because she's re-entering the workforce after a very long time of not being in it. And you know, most people never think about their strengths, neither about their passions and purposes and never work in their peak potential zone. And that's when a job simply becomes a job. And that's when you're really at risk of not being relevant in the new world.

Renata:                And one of the things that I've been talking to people a lot about, and it's part of your book as well, is that idea of having a growth mindset. Now, this is a really important part of building your resiliency and being successful, being ready for opportunities and being lucky. Isn't it, you build your own luck. But I see two things happening to the growth mindset concept. One of them is that it has been embraced by pop psychology, to the point that it has become quite cheesy. And it's hard as a coach to make clients unlearn it and be less cynical about it and then absorb it back as they should. And the other problem, which I see quite often, especially at the moment is that, the opposite of growth mindset.

Renata:                Remind me of fixed mindset, fixed mindset. The fixed mindset is now more prevalent because we are in a crisis situation. And we are in a situation where people are, they feel like they are competing against each other and they wanted to protect their turf and protect their territory. And that their growth mindset just doesn't happen when you are in that environment. So how do you develop a growth mindset when the environment is not conducive for that to happen?

Marianne:           You know, I think you're, I absolutely agree with you. That growth mindset has been severely abused by people who don't have very good evidence based practises in their arsenal and to so glibly say it, and they almost say it from a fixed mindset when they work with it. If you know what I mean, you must install a fixed mindset about growth mindset in people. So I share your concerns.

Marianne:           I think that in terms of the actual evidence based work, the thing we know about fixed and growth mindset, it's an, if I look at the Arbinger Institute, which is one I really love, and even at the work they've done during COVID, it's an inward versus an outward mindset. It's either things are happening to me and things are stopping me from being my best, you know, and that language of, I can't, I can't grow, I can't do it versus an outward mindset that says, Oh, not I'm locked down in my house, but I'm spending time my family and learning how to take better care of myself and trying to learn a new routine. That's an outward mindset versus I'm locked down in my house. So it's so much about language and self-talk that you use. And what you're doing is you're fixing yourself in a position instead of allowing yourself to create new perspectives.

Marianne:           And you are stopping yourself from being curious, I'm reading the curious advantage at the moment, and I'm loving it. You're stopping yourself from being curious. And the moment you stop being curious, you don't grow anymore. And in the new world of work and with lots of disruptions, the most important thing is lifelong learning and growth. It's the only way in Novartis. One of the companies I admire so much has made this an absolute curiosity and they discussed in this book, a premise of working there, a premise of how they show up. And Microsoft, Satya Nadella has made growth mindset, a premise of how the organisation works, but he also ties it to empathy. And that's really interesting because empathy seems to link to growth mindset and curiosity, the more empathetic we are to ourselves and others, the more we want to understand, the more curious we become, the more growth mindset we have, which is just fantastic.

Renata:                Yeah, this is great to hear. And I didn't know that link about growth and empathy. When you think about the trends for your area of research, Marianne, now that you have, I'm going to show the book because this is going to be on YouTube. So if anyone is interested, we're going to have a link to your website where people can purchase the journal and start using it. I really like projects that build habits and habits that make your long-term goals achievable. But this is why I really enjoyed your book. I love that. And I think one of the things that I have been talking to some of my clients, I have two at the moment that operate like this. They want to batch the work that they do with me into a weekend. I'm like, Oh, I haven't had any time this month, but I'm taking this weekend and I'm going to do everything this weekend.

Renata:                And that's not really how the growth of the career Knowles, and the ability to every day, consider strategically how to take steps towards achieving their promotion, their advancement, and how to think about building the habit once you're doing it for the first time, as you know, many clients of mine have found out it's, it's exhausting. Because you're building those pathways in your brain and you're having to think about it constantly. So if you're batching that work, you know, at periods in time, you are just being exhausted by it. Whereas if you're developing career understanding career readiness every day in your life, it's like brushing your teeth. You're not exhausted when you brush your teeth. You know, it's just, you know, the conversation you're having with your network, with your boss, with your colleagues, with your co-workers and so on. So I love building habits. And that's what the journal will do for people that want to develop personal agility and want to understand how to better work in the future in the new world of work. So I'll have the link to your book in the show notes, but what do you see is next for you in terms of how this post COVID pandemic situation that we're in now has shaped what you want to do in the future?

Marianne:           I've just read something really interesting. I've been focusing on industry 4.0 now, as you know, for a long time, which is AI automation in a, how do we, a lot of my clients are still stuck in there. So I'm going to spend a lot of time still in industry 4.0, helping them unbundle their jobs, look at which tasks are better done by machines, better done by humans, make those jobs more complex. Re-skill upskill the people, both these Meta skills, but we are ageing towards industry 5.0. The thing that's pushing us? There is virtual work. So the urban lay of industry 4.0 with virtual work is what people are starting to call industry 5.0.

Marianne:           And I'm exceptionally interested in how to bring that virtual work component in those hybrid workers. A bit of the shutdown, you know, Trump has just decided to shut down visa. That's going to have a massive impact on Silicon Valley. So they'll have to have global virtual workers doing some of the work because they can't actually bring the people into the country. So there's a whole piece on the talent ecosystem on the virtual hybrid, working that is going to be fascinating and new technologies being used for collaboration, but things that still make people feel like they belong and really takes care of their wellbeing. So that's where my next bit's going, I think, and I'd like to help people. I like to just be half a step ahead of them so that I can help them make sense of that and know how to respond to that. So that's where I'll be spending my time.

Renata:                Oh, lovely. We need to share notes because I'm developing a lot of documentation to help the job hunters prepare for the virtual work and virtual job hunting. So happy to share with you on Friday when we have lunch.

Marianne:           Yes. That will be fantastic. I’m so looking forward to that.

Renata:                Marianne, thank you so much again for your time. You're always welcome on the podcast. So if you have anything else coming up in the future, I'm waiting now to have you on board when we have your PhD thesis done.

Marianne:           Oh yeah, yeah, no, definitely. That that's going to be a really fun one, but you know, that's also slowed down a little bit with covid because I'm suddenly having to write the case study on a global virtual leadership programme of 140 very senior leaders in different times zones, which is something we've never done before. So that'll be a really interesting case study to look at.

Renata:                Okay, we'll celebrate together when that one is done. Thanks again.

Marianne:           Thank you. It was fun. Take care.

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