Are you forward compatible?

By Delphine Venitucci

How many times have you read or heard inspiring stories, enticing you to “leave your comfort zone” and grow? Probably more than you can count.

While listening to such stories, I often thought that leaving my comfort zone was definitely out of reach.

Until I started analyzing my own path and realized I had already often done so.

The excitement of leaving your comfort zone

I had been the Director, Marketing and Sales, for a French publisher for seven years, when my husband was promoted. This exciting offer was in Switzerland, so accepting it meant relocating.

I loved my job, my team, my boss, and the comfortable and balanced life we had been building there as a family. Yet, my never-ending curious mind got thrilled by the idea of change, and I decided to get out of my comfort zone.

From then on, I shifted to exploration mode. What was I going to do next? This was an amazing opportunity to reflect on my career path, skills, passions, and expectations. I felt that anything was possible, which was both extremely exciting and dizzy. I needed to focus.

My exploration phase led me to engage in an MBA program in Geneva. After 7 years in the same company, I wanted to refresh my skills and challenge my business approach. The goal was to show recruiters that I was able to take some hindsight, learn, and adapt.

Throughout this amazing program, I strengthened my Marketing and Strategy skills, broadened my skillset on digital marketing, and specialized in the luxury industries.

But above all, engaging in an MBA drove me to a broader understanding of how to stay relevant.

Learning is key, but what to learn?

As job seekers, we need to build a clear vision of our unique positioning statement and establish a strong personal brand. (On that specific subject, I recommend this highly insightful article: Applying principles of corporate branding to personal branding).

The virtuous circle of Growth Mindset vs. the vicious circle of Fixed Mindset.

We often focus on displaying our ability to learn new skills such as Excel, the Google Suite, Python, and many more. We know that keeping our skills sharp and current is instrumental to the job search process.

Yet, that doesn’t make us relevant, and we might miss the bigger picture. These skills, as useful as they might be today, don’t prepare us for the future. They are set in time and will soon be obsolete.

We are all in the business of staying relevant

So, what does staying relevant really mean?

All industries are of course going through specific evolutions.

Technology development has been a change driver for jobs. Traditional marketing is now enriched with its additional digital dimension, using analytics to pair customers and services more efficiently; automation software helps marketing teams to focus on more value-added missions, and who knows what other amazing features AI will provide firms with.

But firms are part of communities that include traits, trends, and shifts. It means we cannot consider the job search without a broader perspective on society hot topics. A cross-functional approach is key.

Some issues are impacting the whole work environment, not only jobs but also working processes, organizations, and business strategy. At the top of the list of these tidal-wave challenges are digital transformation, sustainability, and inclusivity. When you start thinking about these questions, it’s obvious that they cannot be addressed out of the strategic level.

The consequence for us, as job seekers, is that we should all have these challenges in mind when we think about our specific areas of expertise.

If companies are redefining themselves, jobseekers should align their profiles accordingly.

Developing the ability to think across functions and empathy are game-changers.

Let’s take the example of Pernod Ricard, a global wine and spirits firm. All managers of the company are trained on innovation, which is visible all along the value chain of the business. The firm has made innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability, instrumental to its growth and success, as the firm was listed amongst Forbes’ World’s Most Innovative Companies, World’s Best Employers, and World’s Best Regarded Companies.

Pernod has even developed an educational app, aiming at democratizing learning in the spirits industry, with a focus on sustainable and responsible practices. What an excellent example of relevance and holistic view!

Keep your mind open

Embracing a growth mindset removes limitations we lock ourselves into and of which we are not even aware.

As job seekers and also as human beings, we have everything to gain from embracing a growth mindset. It removes limitations we lock ourselves into, and which we are often not even aware of. As each new day is different from the previous, we cannot strictly replicate behaviors and apply older knowledge to address new challenges.

As job seekers, we have to demonstrate that we are indeed current, by displaying knowledge and mastery of hot buttons in our areas, but more importantly, we should demonstrate future-readiness and forward compatibility.

The primary benefits of adopting a permanent exploration mindset are to develop curiosity and realize that we practice creativity every day because it is just the nature of life itself.

Einstein defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. And he is someone who knows a thing or two about success, isn’t he?

Success is a process, not a moment

Growth mindset and innovative thinking have been my driving forces throughout my whole career. I have always been passionate about leading complex projects that are not just about numbers but offer a genuine opportunity to have an impact on corporate social responsibility.

And don’t get me wrong – not being afraid of getting out of my comfort zone does not mean that I engage in projects without measuring risks and weighing the pros and cons. It just helps me address unanswered questions and face the unknown with a positive attitude, with the ability to accept that success is a process, not a moment.

Which will probably be an essential compass for my next project: launching my own business! Stay tuned 🙂

About the author: Delphine Venitucci is a member of the PSGCNJ Marketing Committee. She is an international Marketing and Strategy leader, with over 12 years’ experience in boosting performance of products, brands, and organizations. As a consultant and startup advisor, Delphine helps managers and founders translate their creative flow into structured strategic growth plans. Delphine has a passion for artistic, luxury and innovation industries. She is currently working on launching her own business specializing in accessories for disabled people.