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Within today’s ever-changing and disruptive business conditions, the surf is always up. Widespread changes are now occurring regardless of the industry or market and business leaders will need to change how they approach their careers in order to meet these new demands.

I spoke with John Wessinger, author of RIDE THE WAVE: How To Embrace Change And Create A Powerful New Relationship With Risk, to discover what business leaders can learn from the archetypal surfer about how to explore a career change. 

How can business leaders stay competitive, continually develop new skills, and explore a career transition in light of so much disruptive change?   

Embrace Changing Conditions 

No industry, market, or employee is immune to change. Technology has made business more open, more transparent, and has given everyone – including customers and organizations – more choice. With that comes skills that are needed one minute and gone the next – just like waves in the ocean.

Companies have had to adapt quickly, and it has exposed employees who have held onto the old ways of doing things. Embrace the change that is happening, accept it and use it as a way to identify what skills companies need now, which ones you have and which ones you need to develop for the future. 

Adopt a Progression-Based Mindset 

With conditions changing so rapidly within industries, the skills needed are becoming more technical and more specific. If you are of the mindset that your skills are fixed, you are going to struggle to build new skills.  

Surfers have what is called a progression-based mindset. Much like a growth mindset, they think of their skills as always progressing. In business we think of our skills as fixed and we look for new jobs that “align with that skill set.” We need to think about our skills as always progressing if we want to meet the new demands of disruptive markets.  

Explore Risk and Use It As a Compass 

One of the biggest obstacles holding anyone back from making a career change is the fear of – and risk involved in – doing something new. The uncertainty of a new role, having new coworkers, and anticipating the future success of an organization can be daunting. It can keep even the most talented and skilled professional from exploring a new opportunity.  

Instead, see the risk involved with this change as a positive sign. Greater responsibilities or having to work with more talented teams can create extreme levels of stress and anxiety. But, it could also do something your previous job could not, take you to the next level in your career.

The business leaders that embrace change, adopt a new mindset, and take on the risks involved with a career change, will not only survive, but will thrive in the new conditions. 

Thunderbird School of Global Management Alumna Dana Manciagli '84 is the author of "Cut the crap, Get a job". With her 'Career Mojo' column, Dana is the sole syndicated career columnist for the Business Journal nationwide. Her remarkable profile includes a career in global sales and marketing for Fortune 500 corporations like Microsoft, IBM, and Kodak. She has coached, interviewed and hired thousands of job seekers. This article was originally published on her website.

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