3 ways to thrive in your career

Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — 3 ways to thrive in your career — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

How fast is your life moving? It doesn’t matter if you’re leading a company, working in sales, or building things as an engineer. We’re all impacted by the same reality: life today is much faster than in the past, and if you’re in the American workforce, it’s not going to slow down.

New technologies — from voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to Facebook’s virtual reality headsets — are accelerating change in our society. That change will impact everything, from the way we work to the way we live. People think the answer is to invest in the latest device, or to take a workshop every year or so, or to build a presence on the latest social media platform. While those are respectful pursuits, changes in technology aren’t just impacting jobs; they’re also impacting industries themselves.

Take health care, which is undergoing constant disruption. There is a growing movement to harness the power of technology to deliver the ultimate experience. Artificial intelligence, such as IBM Watson Health, is being used to help physicians better treat their patients. And 23andMe recently received approval from the FDA to democratize personalized medicine by selling “direct-to-consumer tests for 10 genetic risks, including Parkinson’s, late-onset Alzheimer’s, Celiac and Gaucher type 1 diseases.”

In an environment where change is the norm, life will only accelerate, and the challenges and opportunities are bigger than ever. Sometimes you just have to pause and reflect before you can take a step forward.

An insightful perspective

I recently read an intriguing book called “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations,” by Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times columnist. The book notes that we live in a time of tremendous acceleration due to technology, and that our basic foundational systems like education, government policies, management training and safety nets often cannot keep up.

Friedman’s book concludes that if you don’t want to be left behind, you must be proactive and self-motivated in being a continuous learner, as these accelerators are impacting all aspects of life. In the fast-changing world of health care, where robots are performing surgeries, continuous learning is a must, given how quickly the industry is embracing technology.

3 ways to thrive

Here are some of the most interesting points that struck me, as well as my takeaway for each. They may offer value for you too:

1. Continuous learning is essential for your career development, no matter where you are in your career journey. In today’s workforce, our traditional pathways to gaining an education and skillset simply won’t be enough. Continuous learning is something everyone will need to participate in to stay relevant in the workforce. Continuous learning also has implications for businesses. With more self-learning in non-traditional ways, a broader market will open up for talent that’s currently not being tapped.

My takeaway: Take personal responsibility for your career (and life) through lifelong learning. In health care, technology is going to keep disrupting the consumer experience, and it’s imperative that organizations provide a platform to help people prepare for these changes.

2. Don’t wait for your job to be impacted by technology. Friedman cites a farm in upstate New York that turned to robotic milkers for its cows. The future of the person who used to milk the cows may require this person to learn coding or big data to analyze cow behavior. For example, the job could become a milking data analyst, examining what time the cows came in to milk and how much they ate. It’s the same in health care. Everyone is exploring how to use data analytics to improve the health of their patients and to use machine learning as a way to complement human decision-making.

My takeaway: Employers and employees have a mutual responsibility in navigating a world that requires evolving skills and capabilities. Whether it’s a hospital, a health plan or a small physician’s office, we all must evolve in our accelerated world.

3. Find your true purpose and contribute to the community where you live. Friedman explores how communities thrive when they’re based upon purpose and a values system rather than simple obedience to rules. In the world before social media, Friedman argues there was a sense of shared responsibility in communities. When you’re a part of the physical fabric of the community (store or restaurant), you have a sense of shared responsibility in the community’s success. When you have shared responsibility, your purpose is clearer. The acceleration of change creates issues that we must deal with at a community level — with values vs. policies. Only by leading with values and principles, not by providing a series of prescriptive instructions, will we be successful.

My takeaway: Be sure to understand and appreciate the significance of social contracts – brought to life through shared values and common purpose — as the foundation for strong communities.

A famous optimist, Leonardo da Vinci, once said that “learning never exhausts the mind.” Combined with a sense of optimism, there is no better attitude for thriving in an age of acceleration.

 

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