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Are you present, relevant and in demand?

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 | Van Rooyen, Karin

  1218  LIKES  |   3500 VIEWS


As a result of the global economy shrinking daily, many organisations are focusing on cutting out non-value added activities, automating job functions and profitability. The knock on effect is that more and more skilled people are unemployed – they simply are not present, relevant and in demand.

The World Economic Forum examined a report which came out of Australia earlier this year on likely jobs in demand less than 20 years from now. Among them were remote operators for airplanes and “online chaperones” to help prevent cybercrime. Just think of the effect of driverless vehicles on the insurance industry and 3D printing on the manufacturing industries.

The World Bank predicts that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of automation. But this is relatively small. According to the bank, 77 percent of the jobs in China are at risk; 72 percent in Thailand; 69 percent in India, and 85 percent in Ethiopia. The average for advanced OECD nations is 57 percent.

For the authors of the report, creativity is an increasingly sought after skill, while the employment landscape in 2035 will work ‘to the advantage of tomorrow’s entrepreneur.’

So let me ask you a question: Are you present, relevant and in demand?

Is your presence a welcomed and positive one to your organisation and those with whom you engage? Is your relevance in terms of skills required to tackle the tasks at hand and provide innovative solutions making an impact? Are in demand, the go to person?

The fact is that nobody is losing sleep over your career and no one cares about your career as much as you do. Organisations today do not have time to worry about your career as many of them are in survival mode.

So what differentiates you?

  • Are you an expert at something?
  • Do you deliver outcomes?
  • Do you have a view on the future?
  • Are you a supportive colleague? 

The key to success is first to understand you! By that I mean “the perception of oneself aligned to reality = Wisdom”. Personality and aptitude tests (psychometrics) are helpful for managing people and for understanding yourself. David Keirsey reconstructed personality types of world leaders, including Churchill, Ghandi, Washington and Lincoln.

The key findings were that the personalities were all different and no two had the same profile.

He explains their success as follows, “It takes a certain temperament to achieve certain ends.” Leadership is not a personality trait. Each leader had certain qualities that he or she capitalised on, and which allowed him or her to achieve historical greatness.

Behavior is an expression of personality. You cannot change your personality, but you can adapt your behavior. There are many reasons for or drivers of behavior and many elements that shape and influence our behaviour. At the end of the day the choice is yours.

Organisations today are looking for team members who are supportive of each other so they don’t waste valuable leadership time resolving conflicts or dealing with toxic team members, which detracts them from focusing on the achievement of the strategic goals and driving shareholder value.

Lets get back to the personality and aptitude tests. No model or theory captures the whole story. It is necessary to choose model and instrument according to the purpose and need for information – and to know the limits of the model employed. Also, models may be compatible and complementary rather than rival and clashing.

Taking a personality test will not show you if you will be or are an exceptional team player, project manager or leader. However, armed with the results you will have greater insights, including:

  • What elements of the profession are likely to come naturally?
  • What elements of the professional will be challenging?
  • What style of management will be easy or difficult?
  • What work situations are likely to be completely unacceptable?

There is NO ideal profile. In any discipline or industry we should welcome a diversity of personalities and the diverse contributions that each can provide.

Once you are armed the results of your personality and aptitude tests, and truly understand who you are and polish those areas which require development, you can then focus on differentiating yourself. That is to create your exceptional brand.

Based on my experience and engagement with thousands of professionals, the following traits always stand out for me.

  • Experience and Education
  • Xcels
  • Communicator
  • Ethical
  • Passionate
  • Team builder
  • Influencer
  • Organised
  • Networker
  • Aware
  • Leads 

Experience and Education

Organisations value experience as experience reduces risk. You need to consistently apply “figure-it- out-resourcefulness”, apply lessons learned and never stop acquiring knowledge and skills. Even if this means learning something outside your current profession in order to stay relevant. Remember, the global workforce is shrinking.


You need to be action orientated and not wait for issues to resolve themselves. This means that you need to thrive in a fast paced and rapidly changing environment. Working in an environment that is constantly changing means that you need to toss away extraneous ideas and get to the core that matters.


Communication has been identified as one of the single biggest reasons for project success or failure and many organisations success or failure. Openness in communication is a gateway to teamwork and high performance. You need to be aware of the communication styles of other parties, cultural issues, relationships, personalities and overall context of the situation. Listening is an important part of communication. Listening provides insight to:

  • Problem areas
  • Negotiation and conflict management strategies
  • Decision making and
  • Problem resolution 


As John Maxwell said, the central principles of ethics are Reversibility – Would you want someone to do this to you? and Universality – Would you want everyone to do this? Other questions you can ask yourself are:

  • Am I treating others with respect?
  • Am I violating the rights of others?
  • Am I treating others only as a means to my own ends?
  • Am I being honest with others and with myself?
  • Who you are when no one is looking?
  • If your mother, father or role model was watching, would you still do it? 


You need to show demonstrated passion for all that you do, your profession, industry and the customers your serve. Now take a few moments to think about a recent person that you heard, enjoyed and even possibly motivated you. Did this person seem to ignite the room upon his or her entrance? Did you have a thought about where was the source for all that boundless and endless energy? Did you wish that you had one-tenth of that energy? Did you feel a little slighted or even cheated when you began comparing your passion to his or hers?

This person not only demonstrated passion, but probably connected his or her passion to his or her purpose and the end result was improved performance.

Team Builder

Teams must be motivated by the right things. As Dan Pink said - challenged, mastery and self- directed. Some tips to build high performance teams include: • Teams develops their own scope of work, then schedule the work to be done and commits to the time allocated to do work • Teams develop tangible work products and are mutually accountable for work products • Performance is based on achieving team work products and • Problems are discussed and resolved by the team


Influencing is a strategy of sharing power and relying on interpersonal skills to get others to cooperate towards common goals. Using the following guidelines, you can influence team members: • Lead by example, and follow through on commitments • Clarify how decisions will be made • Use flexible interpersonal style and adjust your style to the audience • Apply your power skillfully and cautiously. Think of long-term collaboration


In today‘s turbulent times, you need the ability to handle multiple tasks with proper focus. This means that you need to develop a management style which is balanced between multi-tasking and focusing on the important details and tasks.


Networking effectively requires getting out there and connecting with others, no matter how uncomfortable it feels. It also means that you need to understand which of your stakeholders genuinely carry influence and power. By building effective networks you stay connected, in tune and in touch.


Exceptional people apply political, cultural and environmental awareness consistently. The skillful use of politics and power helps you to be successful. In addition, by understanding and capitalising on cultural differences, you are more likely to create an environment of mutual trust and a win/win atmosphere.


This involves focusing the efforts of a group of people toward a common goal and enabling them to work as a team. In simple terms - the ability to get things done through others. Respect and trust, rather than fear and submission, are key elements of effective leadership. Emphasis must be placed on communicating the vision and motivating and inspiring the team to achieve higher performance.

In summary, in order to be present, relevant and in demand is a matter of conscious choice and discipline. It starts with you. And let us not forget your online brand, the trends show that you will no longer look for jobs, they will look for you!

By Karin Van Rooyen. 







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