Accelerating out of the Slow Growth Economy: Invest in Oneself

Why One Should Invest in Oneself

A recurrent theme among the leaders and the potential leaders is about how to succeed in a low and slow growth economy. With job opportunities diminishing and pay hikes being lesser, there is a need for leaders and aspiring leaders to upgrade their skills and be valuable to their employers.

In other words, unless leaders make themselves indispensable to their employers, they are likely to be hit when the company downsizes and ignored for promotions or not given the expected salary hikes.

Indeed, as more and more companies value the contributions more than seniority or the fact that the employee has been loyal to them, there is a clear case for employees to stay in the hunt by investing in themselves and by ensuring that their skills are much sought after.

Cross-Functional Skills

To take an example, employees in the tech sector can invest in soft skills like people management, communication, and leadership whereas those in the manufacturing sector can invest in learning technical skills in the field of IT. What this means is that cross-functional skills need to be acquired and by investing in these skills, the employees would be at an advantage over their peers. Further, by upgrading their skill set and portfolio they would be adding a vital aspect of completeness and versatility that is to do with finding alternative employment in case they need to switch jobs. Many leaders started with a particular sector, then honed in their skills in another sector, and finally, emerged as leaders in a third sector. The clear lesson here is that one needs to reinvent themselves at every stage and ensure that they are in the cutting edge fields, which places a premium on these skills. Apart from this, the fact that leaders need to be broad based in their skill portfolio and be ambidextrous where they can manage different aspects of management is another indication for them to learn new skills at every stage. Indeed, in a slow growth economy, the best way to stay relevant is to invest in oneself and ensure that one is ahead of the others in the pack.

Examples from the Business World

A classic example of how leaders reinvent themselves is Azim Premji of Wipro who started out in a business that does not have anything to do with IT, then diversified the company to embrace the technological revolution, and is now one of the richest persons in the country. This is a clear indication that leaders should be prepared for every turn in life and must not be stuck in a time warp. The example of other leaders like Steve Jobs who though continued with the digital space nonetheless could anticipate which way the wind was blowing and hence, become a success in the emerging mobile space.

Closing Thoughts

Finally, by investing in oneself, leaders can also help others by example and by association where the mutual learning’s from each other helps to broaden the skill set as well as expand on one’s capabilities.


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Leadership