We all know that work is going to be very different in the future.  Globalization, automation, A.I., the increasing importance of social media--every day we are presented with evidence of just how rapidly the face of employment is changing. Ten years from now, what will your job look like? Will it even still be around?

Answering these questions was one reason I was so excited to talk to Dorie Clark, a professor, author, and former presidential campaign spokeswoman. Society has become more entrepreneurial. For most people, it's just no longer possible to work the same job their whole career. That's why Clark's three books--Reinventing You, Stand Out, and, most recently, Entrepreneurial You--are so important. Together, these books trace changes in work and society and show you how to stay ahead of the curve and build thriving, sustainable, and fulfilling employment. Clark's work shows you how to  futureproof your career, which is why I was fortunate enough to talk to her on a recent episode of my Futureproof podcast

Personal Branding, Self-Promotion, and the Future of Work

Here are some of my takeaways:

1. Create a strong personal brand.

In our talk together, Clark emphasized the importance of creating a strong personal brand. As she says, creating a brand is about "getting your name known, so that when people are looking for someone to work with, you are top of mind." Among other benefits, getting your brand out there is a hedge against risk. If you are out looking for a new job, Clark points out, you "can't afford to be the tenth person" a potential employer thinks of: "You need to be in the top two or three...and if you've raised your profile sufficiently, you will be."

2. Further your credibility using social proof.

Going hand-in-hand with building your brand is the importance of what Clark calls "social proof." Having social proof means you have credibility in your industry. It's when your peers want to listen to what you have to say. It's when they look to you as a leader or influencer in your field. In your industry, who do you pay attention to? Who are you watching? Ask yourself why. As Clark points out, the answer is usually that the person you follow is on social media, creating content that showcases their ideas. In the future, Clark says, the people who are going to be successful are those who "crack the code" of learning the twin skills of "being excellent at whatever you do and promoting it well."

3. Hack your way to productivity gains.

How do you fit all of this into an already busy schedule? How does someone find the time to be both excellent and also generate brand-building content? This question is one reason I was so glad to talk to Clark about how she sustains her own incredible productivity.

One significant way Clark stays productive is setting short planning horizons. She points to Rita Gunter McGrath's The End of Competitive Advantage, which showed that the companies that have shifted to shorter planning schedules have been more successful over the last 10 years or so. In today's economy, companies need to be light on their feet, able to pivot quickly in response to the market. Clark herself tries to plan things in six-month increments. As she says, six months is "long enough that you can actually get something done but it is short enough that if circumstances have changed, then you can be just, 'OK, I'm doing something else now.'"

4. Focus your career-building efforts.

Another fascinating productivity tip Clark uses is to schedule her days into "maker time" and "manager time." This is a strategy that has been successfully implemented in the Silicon Valley incubator YCombinator. The incubator's founder, Paul Graham, pointed out that managers work best when they have lots of short sessions back-to-back. Clark has "manager-time" days (the day of our interview was one of them) when she gets lots of small tasks done. But she also makes sure to schedule "maker days," when she has unscheduled time to spend five or eight hours "working in-depth on a meaningful project...to do what Cal Newport would call deep work." According to Clark, dividing up her schedule like this is one of the biggest things she has done to make herself more productive.

Listen to our full conversation to hear what Clark has to say about the future of work, the role of social media in society, and even her passion for musical theater! And be sure to listen and subscribe to get your episode of Futureproof each week.

A final note: Clark's work is incredibly valuable for anyone wanting to learn how to adapt their career to the increasingly rapid pace of changes in work today. I encourage you to look into her books or check out her website.

Aug 24, 2018