Best Career Tips Of 2020—The Gifts In Crisis

Covid-19 tossed all of our lives into a tornado and we’re still figuring out where we’ll land.  It also shines a light on the need to be able to manage chaos and change, because, as Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the Air Force told me on my podcast recently, “Whether we’re working in industry or government or in the nonprofit sector, change is a constant.”

Chaos, crisis and change also shake us out of complacency and forces us to see things with fresh eyes and make different choices – and that’s where the gifts lie.

Here are the best career tips of 2020 for managing change from my guests this year:
Managing chaos, crisis and change is about being able to innovate – your career, your skills, your perspective, your operations, your team, your products, your business model, your budget, everything.  So, here’s a look at the top career tips of 2020 through the lens of the Innovator’s DNA (designed by the late Dr. Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School): observe, question, associate, network, and experiment.


Another critical way to increase your self-knowledge is to, “Pay attention to the people around you, and

Listen to what they see in your career,” Dr. Robin Currey, head of the Sustainable Food Systems program at Prescott College told me.  That is, notice which projects and jobs people asked you to do or paid you to do, and how they introduced you to other people. It gives you insight into where people see your professional value.

To understand what drives women to achieve, my firm conducted an in-depth survey this year and we found out that these women are driven by: power (influence), status (recognition), curiosity (learning), and idealism (making a difference).

listMSNBC legal analyst and former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks’ suggests make a list of all the skills you used in past jobs, indicating which you loved and those you disliked, and then look for jobs that maximize the skills you enjoy and minimize those you don’t.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James answers troops' questions at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan 2014”No matter what level you’re at, there’s always office politics, or what Dr. Jennifer Wisdom calls “the game that’s being played,” even in a virtual world. She said, “It’s who gets the plum assignments…and how everyone talks to each other…(and) it’s enormous in women’s advancement.”  She gave several tips, such as, “if you’re working with someone who makes you feel like you’re not good enough, there’s something else going on.”

Brenda Darden Wilkerson, CEO of Anita on the Grace Hopper Conference stage, “Work from where you are….You can work within an organization to do amazing things,“ Brenda Darden Wilkerson, CEO of and the renowned Grace Hopper Conference, suggested. “Be willing to be an intrapreneur.”

Wherever you are, seize opportunities. “It’s time (for women) to pick our heads up and look around the executive realm and really think broadly about how big our impact can be,” Coco Brown told me. “Don’t underestimate your value.”
Or, as Katie Sloan of Southern California Edison put it, “Don’t ask for permission, just do it.”
(You can listen to all these interviews on my podcast Green Connections Radio and anywhere you listen to podcasts.)
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