Choice & Chance

I’m an HR Professional with a lot to think about, say and do around careers. It’s one of the better aspects of working in the people part of the equation of business success. I’ve always considered myself fortunate to have a knowledge-worker type of career opportunity – in the Civil Service, Not-for-profit and now Freelance world, but a career it’s always been for me. A calling even.

Yet I had 2 critical components at play that made that possible (and I recently blogged about it for the HR Director Magazine) – choice and chance.

Choice. This was me choosing my pathway. Me being drawn to certain elements within the business world. Not finance or marketing but largely around business change, technology and people learning. I worked in a large enough environment that I could exercise choice as it was a many-thousands strong Government Department and I had the chance to work in the operational, service-provision area and then into management and leadership and then into projects and specialities. So I could make choices about what I learned, skilled up on, did and then made good on. Circumstances needed to arrive, for sure, but this was something that because of my interests and areas of drive, I was prepared to look out for, position towards and make happen (mostly).

Chance. The circumstances were there as I said. There is an element of being in the right place at the right time with the right mindset but there were chances to progress, move, upskill and plot a pathway. Now we see much more about the chances being something deliberately designed. With talent reviews; development opportunities and deliberately constructed schemes within the world of work. Apprenticeships, internships, talent programmes, graduate schemes – these are all constructs aimed at helping people to find their way with built options. It’s in the interests of the more forward-thinking companies to provide chances for people to shine, develop and grow and in turn, help the business perform, develop and grow.

If you’re new to work, and embarking on your career, what choices are you making? What chances are you seeing and grasping?

It’s down to many HR professionals’ role within companies and as consulting advisors to help create those choices and chances for people. Their motives may be to further the company but if people benefit through – what I have borrowed from Behavioural Economics – choice architecture – then that’s good for all concerned. The choices and chances need to be fair, open, inclusive and opportunistic. Often the superstar next-generation leader might be hidden under layers of job roles and so HR’s choice architecture should aim at revealing those opportunities to all – so that people who have the entrepreneurial spirit and determination can succeed through choice and chance on top of their skill, drive and imagination.

We’re in a world of abundance in many ways – consumer goods, travel and more. Yet careers seem ever more delicate in this disrupted world of new, shifting orthodoxies and challenging agendas.

So my call to all considering being part of #NCW2016 is; what are YOUR choices and where do you see, feel and sense YOUR chances are coming from? Our future depends on people being able to navigate an ever complex world of work and that means we ALL need to be thinking about our talents, desires and fulfilment and lining them up to opportunities out there in the business world.

To go a bit Star Trek for a moment, it’s careers Jim, just not as we know it.