In “VUCA world,” described by the U.S. Army War College as volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous environments, current career “planning” occurs under rapidly-shifting conditions more appropriate for an agile strategy.
As a result, it is increasingly difficult to meaningfully respond to the frequently-asked interview question: “What are your career plans for the next five years?”
Planning is most suited to relatively certain circumstances when processes and decisions are linear, argued Stanford’s Kathleen Eisenhardt and Behnam Tabrizi in their analysis of global computer product innovation.
In contrast, frequently-changing or uncertain conditions with many iterative modifications require improvisation coupled with frequent testing.
Iterative exploration, rapid prototyping/experimentation, and testing characteristic of agile development and design thinking are more suited for rapid changes in economic, political, and technology changes that affect known career paths.
University of London’s Alison Maitland and Peter Thomson forecast Future Work: How Businesses Can Adapt and Thrive In the New World of Work,
and related books by Deloitte’s Cathy Benko, Molly Anderson, with Anne Weisberg of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP consider The Corporate Lattice: Achieving High Performance in the Changing World of Work and Mass Career Customization: Aligning the Workplace with Today’s Nontraditional Workforce.
-*When have you found it more useful to “improvise” instead of “plan” your career?
-*What are the benefits and drawbacks of career “improvisation”?
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