By Tim Kolacz
Are you relevant?
Of course you are. Maybe; could be; hey Tim, how about some context here? Am I relevant to someone in Moscow? Nope. Am I relevant to my client that I saw this morning? Geez, I sure hope so. How you answer this question may help you decide if you are on the right track or need to curve into a different groove.
I’m in a networking meeting the other morning, a ProVisors meeting specifically, and a couple of topics were brought up. One was the recent passing of Willie McCovey. McCovey was described by Bob Gibson, one of the greatest pitchers ever, as the “scariest hitter in baseball.” Now that’s pretty relevant.
A little later on, someone mentioned Peter Drucker, the famous business management consultant and author. The comment was made that Mr. Drucker once said in an interview, to throw away all his previous books up to that point, as they were no longer relevant. This coming from the “father of modern management;” tells you to throw away all of his old books.
Now Mr. Drucker could have been saying that to sell more books, right!? But what I think he was really saying is that as the world changed, so did management. You had to take what you’ve learned from prior experience and then apply it to the current economy, work situation, or environment you were in. In the 1950’s you could walk around the office with a drink in one hand, a cigarette in the other and bark out orders and people would listen. Today, if you did that in an office with more than just you in it, OSHA would fine you for smoking, HR would fire you for drinking in the office and your worker’s would file an Employment Practices Liability claim against you for a hostile workplace. Bummer!
After the environment changed, Mr. Drucker wrote several more books on how to manage in the new age of computer automation and the end of the Cold War. He stayed relevant as he changed how one should manage in the new world that we lived in. As Mr. McCovey aged and was no longer the scariest hitter, he changed roles into a senior advisor with the San Francisco Giants. He would go to spring training, talk with players and staff members and dole out advise for the team. Having a Hall of Fame player providing advice to young and veteran players alike, would prove highly valuable to the team and the front office. He stayed relevant.
What you are doing today is most likely far different from what you were doing 15 years ago. Heck, it’s probably changed so much in the last 5 years depending on your industry, that you may not recognize it at all. Staying relevant is not easy, you must work at it. Every day. Because if you used a teletype and didn’t learn to fax things, how could you then email, FTP and now Dropbox.
Don’t be a teletype, create a new Dropbox.
Tim Kolacz is working hard for those that do. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can’t promise you stay relevant, but he can ask you some fun questions about it, so you can try.