Consider the External Trends that Influence Your Organization

Named by Inc. as one of the top 100 leadership speakers, Shelley Row, P.E., is an engineer and former government and association executive. Shelley’s leadership work focuses on developing insightful leaders who can see beyond the data.

Technical professionals with excellent skills and attention to detail are often offered the opportunity to become managers.  Yet the same skills that make them superb at their jobs don’t always transition well into the skills managers need to lead a team. This 10-part series over the next few months will guide you into the development of those needed soft-skills so you can excel as a technical manager.  For a summary post on all 10 skills, click here.

What’s “trending” today? Every day, there’s a list just a smartphone away of what people are talking about, concepts society is dealing with, and the latest newsworthy events. Some of these trends don’t affect you at all, but others can have a major impact on your organization and the decisions you make at work. Not all trends are identifiable on the internet or social media sites, either. Wise staff will pay attention to what is trending in the following five areas, shared in my Management Training for Technical Managers series.

Trends in Politics

Public agency staff members know the world shifts during an election year. Even so, I’ve seen people surprised that their project was postponed or eliminated during the election season. Even companies outside the sector are affected. Pay attention to when you should be shouting involvement in a project and when you should stay quiet.

Trends in External Relationships

Is your organization courting outside relationships with a key client/strategic partner? That relationship can influence what money you plan to spend and what staff member(s) will be assigned projects. Highly influential potential customers/clients can be moved to the front of the line.  Or, you may be experiencing a merger and acquisition which could impact funds for projects, travel, and training. Stay engaged to know what your organization is pursuing.

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Some of these trends don’t affect you at all, but others can have a major impact on your organization and the decisions you make at work.

SHELLEY ROW

Trends in Society

If you serve people, you are affected by trends. Take time to consider what has shifted and changed in the last few months.  No one predicted, for example, how much society would change during 2020. You must be ready to modify messaging, pivot operations, and rework budgets when society is going through major issues. 

Trends in Technology

Technology affects our daily work and lives more than we realize or want to admit. While you may not be an “early adopter” or “cutting edge” with the latest of all tech, your organization will need to stay reasonably current to keep up with client/customer demands and to get your message out in relevant ways (which can change regularly!)

Trends in the World

This requires even more of a step back but is vital. What global trends could influence your organization’s plans in the future? These could be more high-level or long-horizon trends, but they are influences just the same. For example, changes in travel (far less of it) and technology for meetings (far more of it) are being experienced worldwide. How is your organization handling it now and prepared to handle it later?

Pay attention to these outside factors that can influence the success of your agency, organization, or even your career.

I go much deeper into this topic in my training webinars, including Top 10 Skills for Technical Managers.  I hope you’ll check it out.

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