In 1964 The Beatles had four albums in the top 100, including the unprecedented top two slots. They had a formula, and they repeated that formula over and over again.
Their magic formula was simple, and it was more or less the same formula that all the top bands in the 1960s used. Aim to the teenage pop tunes market, and tour relentlessly. The Beatles wrote only about half their own songs, and obviously, that was working.
In 1965 The Beatles decided they would have no more live performances. All the songs they produced were written by the band, and they wrote them about anything and nothing all without aiming for the teenage pop market.
Before their reinvention they had two number one albums. After their reinvention, they had 11. They had more control, more hits, and ultimately more success.
So why in 1965 did they throw out the most successful formula in music and reinvent themselves?
Because to stay in the number one position and to cement themselves as the superstars they believed themselves to be, they needed to do something different. They needed to be innovative.
We do too. If we don’t reinvent ourselves, we will also become redundant, just noise in the background sounding like everyone else.
Forbes Magazine predicts that by 2025 about 50% of employees will be working virtually and in 2020 46% of the workforce will be millennials.
What does that mean for the Administrative Professional? It means that for us to stay relevant and respected in the workplace we are going to have to change what we do otherwise we will be working from home for people who are self-sufficient (and feel they don’t need us). It is possible that our future will not see the benefit we bring to the office because things will be so different.
I doubt that the Admin Professional will be out of a job per se, but the skills that will be needed will be very different than the skills we need now.
We need to reinvent what we do, how we do it, and why we are doing things that way.
Just because it is working doesn’t mean that is the right path to follow. The Beatles had a very successful formula, but they changed it anyway.
Here are some things you can do to ensure that you are relevant in the future:
1) Be Strategic. Be aware that your future is changing and constantly look for ways for you to add value to your executive or company.
If you prefer to avoid all the office politics, start paying attention. That doesn’t mean that you need to get involved, but you certainly need to be aware. Sticking your head in the sand is not the right approach to strategy.
Being strategic means personal strategy as well. Continue adding to your skill base even if you feel you don’t need that skill right now. Keep your network alive (just in case things change). If you don’t already have your accreditation CAP OM or TA or PM – get it ASAP. If you have one, get all three.
Be strategic to keep yourself relevant to not only our company but to your profession and yourself.
2) Be Likeable and Kind. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of people and your relationships with them. When it comes to making hard choices when companies change directions, relationships matter.
When Brian Epstein died in 1967 (The Beatles’ manager), the Beatles began a bitter feud with EMI records. The poor relationships that were well documented in the press were the catalyst to start Apple Records.
Ensuring you are likable and kind is just good business. Good business for you and your future, and good business for your executive and company as well.
3) Be a Guru. Don’t just be good at your job; be excellent at your job. While being an administrative professional requires us to be good at many things, we need to find our expertise as well. Find the area that you add the most value to your company and push it even farther. Be the “go-to” person in your office for your area of expertise.
Apple reinvented the music industry when it released the iPod, Starbucks reinvented the coffee experience, Tesla is reinventing the car buying experience, and Netflix is changing the way we watch television.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 exploded into oblivion; the Ford Edsel was an immediate failure, Kodak refused to admit that digit photos were going to make an impact and in 1985 Coca-Cola made a massive error in judgment when they introduced New Coke.
When you risk being at the top, you won’t always be right. You won’t always have a home run each time you swing the bat.
However, Samsung, Ford, Kodak, and Coca-Cola are still around in one form or another. Being innovative means taking a risk. Taking risk can mean failure, or it can mean success. Doing nothing guarantees failure.
Take the risk, be innovative, and let’s see our future together.