I’ve written a number of articles on the changing corporate landscape (e.g., Your role in your company is changing, 5 Steps to Prepare Yourself for the New Corporate World, Building Strong Business Relationships, Building your Personal Brand). It is clear that our roles within corporate America are changing.
If you think about your father’s career, he probably worked for the same company for 20, 30 or 40 years and then retired from the company with a full pension. A decade or so ago, working for the same company for ten years was the norm – and was valued on a resume. Today, it is viewed negatively. Five years ago, the average tenure for a manager, was 3-5 years. Today it is 18 to 36 months. Estimates show that within the next few years, employees will be changing jobs every 1-2 years.
The loyalty between employer and employee is evaporating. In California, “at-will” employment has given employers the ability to terminate employees “at will”. Employers look at employees as interchangeable resources. A manager is hired to develop, or turn-around a department. Once this is complete, they are often replaced with a new manager who will take the group to the next level. The bottom line is that employees are often viewed as contractors or consultants regardless of their employment status. Most roles are “project” based.
Employees are recognizing that in addition to being responsible for their own retirement fund (remember that pensions disappeared a long time ago), they are also personally responsible for their own careers. They need to develop their own personal brand. They need to create a brand identity and create brand loyalty. They need to promote themselves and create demand in the market for their personal brand. In much the same way that athletes such as Kobe Bryant, entertainment moguls such as Oprah, and actors such as Brad Pitt develop, promote and protect their brand, employees must do the same thing.
Many employees who are in transition feel as though they are out of work actors looking for their next movie or television series to work on. They hope that the television series will get picked up by the network and provide employment for the next several seasons, but often it is cancelled before it develops. In the entertainment industry, actors use agents and publicists to develop and promote their brand.
I believe that over the next decade, the struggling executive search industry will stop working for the employers and evolve into Personal Branding Agents who will work for the employees in much the same way that talent agents work for actors. I believe that many PR executives will evolve into executive publicists.
Asking an engineering director or manufacturing manager to be their own brand manager is like asking them to rebuild their car’s transmission. They simply don’t have the skill set, and honestly, don’t want to develop it. Most executives and managers are lost when asked to maintain their own LinkedIn profile, create a personal blog, build an effective business network, speak at networking events and the fifteen other activities necessary to promote themselves effectively. I believe we are moving toward an era where personal agents will build executive brands by booking speaking opportunities, scheduling them into the right industry events, introducing them to the leaders in their industry, writing press releases about their accomplishments, promoting them in the trade publications and business journals, identifying upcoming roles that met their profile, and generally managing their careers in much the same way talent agents manage athletes and actors careers.
The service doesn’t exist on a broad basis yet, so we all need to manage our careers ourselves. However, I look forward to the day when I can outsource this to an expert. I would pay for it. Would you? There is a reason I don’t work on my own transmission – There are experts who can do it better, faster and cheaper. I would rather focus on my core-competencies.
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