Two new difference-maker careers and skills we need to master, apply, recognize and enable in others?

By: Bill Van Eron Wednesday September 26, 2018 0 comments Tags: Bill Van Eron


By Bill Van Eron

Conscious Market Strategist

Headwaters Marketing and Innovation

In past decades, the steps to climbing the corporate ladder were pretty clear, largely because change was not the factor it is now.

That industry and career “predictability” had an entire support ecosystem across education, career requirements and work expectations, as just a few, that are struggling today. Thomas Frey’s blog nicely covers the significantly urgent and growing gap between college and business career relevance.       

Change has become the norm, that education often fails to adapt to. Students and industry deserve better, as both will struggle without this ecosystem healthy. A union vital to our country and a world that will not slow down if people are not prepared, given the benefits and threats of AI with or without proper guidance.van-eron-column-art.9.26

Add “AI – Conscious Application Integrity” to the list of new degrees as, so far AI – sans proper stewardship, can be our most destructive job elimination technology. Hmm…robots don’t shop. Why not have technology focus on human enablement, such as; solving greater needs that humans alone have failed to solve when corporations bog down with outdated mindsets. Experience the power in a large social footprint. I.E.: where industry and education can indeed collaborate, challenge and learn on an even keel, versus drifting further apart possibly beyond repair. Add the huge need and degree of repetition in most work categories. The two new skill areas I will elaborate on below, are not yet on Educators lists, yet they are newly on the “priority” lists of the more forward thinking companies and media. If both are new to you, what are you waiting for?

My suggestion to the outstanding value offered by gaining mastery in Ecosystem Mapping and value creation, as well as in Conscious Design are based on:  

A. Deep synthesis of why organizations fail as confirmed by leading research firms. Progressive conscious ecosystem application to a huge client advantage.                                                                    B. Decades of evolving applications of Conscious Design to improve how all business and markets might function and prosper.

Consider this partial scan of needs that set up the necessary value of the two careers and skills:

  1. For decades, the very definition of success had been largely determined by closed, internal values and hierarchical control. Finally obvious to most; that fails to work. Flip that around to today: - Success is determined by how strongly internal teams buy in and feel inclusive to their mission. - Markets with higher transparency and expectations of trust, credibility and relevance, assigning regard are the other key success component. Today climbing those steps to a higher value requires conscious clarity to what really matters and the conviction to care to be that champion. Companies need to support, enable, recognize and reward champions though a conscious designed support system, such as we now deliver.
  2. Markets have been clear about what matters for decades. So have employees…yet to deaf ears. I know firsthand as immersing myself as a conscious designer into customer facing – sales, channels, influencers, analysts and editors – revealed needs that creativity, credibility and relevance addressed far better than corporate agenda’s and conservative sales, marketing, HR and R&D efforts were ever in a position to do then. Now it's crucial. Today, corporate laggards slow to embracing these principles will be tagged unworthy by markets with full transparency. Get in early and gain a great credibility boost.
  3. Looking at the last decades CEO Top 10 priority lists, and how low the scores are to address any at all on those lists, it’s clear better approaches follow a better grasp of how all or most needs are connected. Many leaders learned long ago to isolate a problem to fix it. Given the high mix of human-related needs – low employee alignment and low engagement (Gallup states only 15% of global employees feel emotionally connected); plus low trust, inclusion, diversity in leadership and culture…this troubling list goes on. Everything internal and external that define success now defines your success ecosystem. This blog is a heads up of the value and unique skills needed.
  4. More CEOs still push revenue growth as something that can be mandated. They maintain investments in sales and marketing as if customers are impulse buyers, versus earning customer trust and regard. HR is now tasked to meet the top CEO priority to recruit talent. In reality, how you treat the talent you have, is the strongest indicator to outside talent as to your worthiness. Core functions now set up to fail, require leadership with a better view of the system as a living entity, as most of it is decidedly human. Many functions today are struggling to be effective on a false foundation, thus failing badly. Companies push employees to work harder and faster and adopt short termism limitations, when in truth success begs investments in trust, credibility, inclusion and relevance.

The careers that I and others see as crucial to shape organizations of value and worthy of growth include:

The Chief Ecosystem Strategy Officer

This position, currently mislabeled as CEO -- Chief Ecosystem Officer -- is in the best position to scan what matters internally, externally and across stakeholders, trends and unmet needs. That creates a wealth of opportunity to shape the culture, internal organizational design, core integration points, new skills within, on up to what determines the accountability system vital to match promises with actions, capabilities with performance and universal regard. Markets have total transparency to companies and how genuine they are to promises made internally and externally, so why shouldn’t companies have the same. When I read and hear firsthand how many leaders, even ones that get it, fail to step up and enable others to do work that matters out of fear of making waves…a position such as this can make a world of difference.

They also have to invest in the market part of this ecosystem and well beyond the norms that emerge when external factors are trivialized or taken for granted. Even the oft-touted customer journey is a misnomer. The real journey is meeting or exceeding the hopes, needs, values and expectations of current and future talent, channels and other stakeholders, and customers directly and collectively. Smaller companies may start this capability within their ranks and all sized companies will initially need seasoned, advance skill guidance.

The Chief Conscious Design Officer (CCDO)

Most designers -- whether graphic, urban, organizational or a list of others -- have root skills in the following:

  1. Looking beneath the surface to find what matters and how that prioritizes across the known system.
  2. Challenging their assumptions through open constructive dialog.
  3. Going beyond the obvious to synthesize new stimulus so fresh, relevant solutions can be created.
  4. Sort of a bridge builder between what is needed, why and for who.
  5. Universal acceptance to continuous learning as a necessity.
  6. The ability to shape a unique value that others feel (and were) inclusive to and embrace as relevant.

When Dan Pink wrote "Why right brainers will rule the future", he did a great job raising the value that many left brained cultures (technology, medical) tend to overlook and struggle to enable. Dan also made effective arguments for the value women have an edge on men in a world where soft skills, empathy, synthesis, trust, and relevance rule above almost all else.

Designers have the core right brain skills vital to move to a conscious design level after they study, advance and apply systems thinking, as I did from 1990 on with unprecedented results for several Fortune 500 companies; methods especially suited for today. Initially systems thinking failed to evolve beyond limited application, with great respect for the early foundational work of Deming, Senge, Ackoff, and even recent contributors David Stroh, Richard Karesh and others advancing variant applications of systems thinking. The relevancy of systems thinking has never been higher than it is today, despite so few really having mastered it yet. That growth of need will only continue upward. The ability to gage the requirements of an internal and external ecosystem, master the entirety of what matters, and create system-worthy solutions is vital in an age where performance has to respect and factor in interdependencies, values, the experience opportunity and influence criteria, including trust, credibility and relevancy. Technology integration follows a great roadmap of what matters vs. the negative disruption many leaders justifiably fear.

These two positions both serve as major success enablers for the entire organization as well as for market regard. Both positions also interconnect in vital ways whether shaping entire organizations, creating a better culture, deeper insight in an agile manner, strategy, brand, program, solution, workflow and skill premise... on up to adjacent or transformative innovation.

They also rise to the top when creating the basis for an alliance, purpose or solving a major need that has alluded all others.

The beauty of both is no matter where you are in the internal hierarchy, as you adopt and apply these skills, your world internally and externally takes note. Feel free to check in with me as to how either can benefit your organization so we can get you on that road to mastering and driving what matters the most.

Bill Van Eron

About the Author: Bill Van Eron

For Bill Van Eron, life & work are all about conscious observation and earning our needed humanity high bar. Whether Bill was an art director or lead designer in NYC, the most demanding marketing environment, or shaping a more relevant brand for soon to be major companies in Denver, or across his 25-year career in HP, as its champion for progressive enlightenment, diversity, inclusion and the highest relevance, which followed every project, Bill stays inspired to help others shape a better world, lives & work as connected to greater attention to our humanity, creativity and value-creation. All as vital to any organization's greater success. Bill now is championing the first and most conscious innovations that resolve challenges to our planets environment, as well as business and government realizing each’s greater purpose and brand value. Tired of conventional approaches and willful ignorance, Bill was recruited as one who can champion each solutions authentic relevance. Bill hopes Colorado and Fort Collins can open up and get in flow, as a community Bill & his wife only wish the best for as also enabled with a view all others benefit by, whether they see it initially or not.