“Because of the VUCA environment, you can no longer be static in your career,” said Joanna Moss, executive coach and IESE Alumni career advisor, during a special event, "Career Development in a VUCA World", in Barcelona.
In the past, “you might be employed by a company and progress through the organization throughout your professional life. That is no longer the case today. Anyone who thinks like that will get left behind,” she said.
Moss was joined by Lars Maydell and Iñaki Saltor, also members of IESE’s career advising alumni team. The event, moderated by Javier Muñoz, director of Alumni & International Development, addressed three key career development challenges: strategy, international career planning and changing labor markets.
Maydell, formerly of the executive recruitment firm Egon Zehnder, provided Alumni with six critical points of advice.
In addition to these six steps, Maydell advised managers to step back from their careers on a regular basis to gain perspective. “You need to reflect with other people and look at your life as if it were another person.”
When it comes to a global career move, “just do it,” said Moss, who focused on international career planning. “An international career will change you.”
Executives should manage their careers from the moment they complete their education, said Moss, who differentiated three career stages when international moves are often considered.
The first stage is early in a manager’s career, when a short two-year “hop” is easiest for a manager. At the second stage, at mid-career, more consideration is often required since family members will be affected. At the third stage, senior level, a move may provide the best opportunities, but should be made with a clear strategy for moving back to the manager’s home country.
“Sometimes moves are organized by a company, but sometimes they come around completely by accident,” she said. “If you know what you’re going towards, it’s much easier to spot an opportunity.”
“The war for talent is back, but the rules have changed,” said Saltor. In some countries, such as Spain, there is now a disconnect between professional profiles and the needs of companies. Demographic shifts and the expatriation of talent have created additional challenges for firms.
Saltor advised managers seeking new opportunities to work on attitudinal skills such as creativity, initiative and emotional intelligence; make use of online tools; and take great care of their professional networks.