Marginalize through specialization



It is that time of the year where most people work on their New Year’s resolution.   At the same time, people who work for companies also anticipate their performance review discussion to know how their managers think they do during the year.   This is a perfect time to review your three-year plan and assess how you’ve perform in the prior year.   What three year plan? Most people are so focused on getting their job done that they fail to plan for themselves.   In the absence of a plan, you are working on someone else’s plan.

While some people find their way in their career, at times in a roundabout way, it is best to have a plan. A plan that guides you and states what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be done, the sequence, and has measurable action items to assess how you’re doing.   As you create your plan, what do you want to be in 5 years? Map out what is it you’re passionate about. What energizes you every day? Create a plan accompanied by a timeline that states when you need to do what.

Once a plan is created, you need to step back for a few days and let it sit for a couple of days. Why? To let yourself reassess whether what you wrote is indeed what you want.   This is important because it allows you to think through your dream and passion and how to best apply it. As you analyze your plan, check if you are focusing too much on a narrow segment of a particular field. Why is this important to assess your focus?   You could very well be moving yourself into a corner. The problem is you might be too specialized, which might pay dividends in the near term, but because it is too specialized, when the market trend changes, you might be left behind.   You can move yourself to the corner of specialization, but make sure you’re facing outside and observing what the next trend that you need to embrace is.

Specialization is a good thing, because companies pay top dollar for specialized skills, but over specialization without a plan can caused you to be out of date in a few years. It is imperative that you maintain your specialization while being on the lookout as to what is upcoming and determine the merit to upgrade your skills. I’ve worked with people who specialized and stayed with the same technology until one day that technology was no longer used, at which point they were not programed to learn and had a tough time learning new things.

If you don’t have a plan, create one today.   If you have a plan, review and update it. Make sure that you’re not over specializing to the point your skill will be obsolete. Remember that if you’re not learning and developing, you’re falling behind.   Unless you’re three to five years from retiring, you really need to brush up your skills.

Let me know what you think of my post. Share with your friends or let me know your thought. I can always learn from you. Have a great day!



Starting 2013

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MASCL, CLDC


I’ll start by saying, “Welcome 2013!  A year of opportunity for us to make our dream a reality.”   Ushering in a New Year reminds me of Oprah Winfrey’s quote, “Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.”    It is akin to turning a page in our book of life and starting a new chapter, which is a blank canvas for us to draw whatever we want.

One of my favorite things to do as I end a year and start a new one is to review my plan and make adjustments that help me position myself as I ring in the New Year.    By doing so, I can start the year right and focus on the things that are important to me and my family.

Here are a few things that can help you begin your year:

1)    Take a risk – I urge you to take a chance, a calculated risk that is.   Work outside your comfort zone and expand your horizon.

2)    Plan – Prepare a career plan and track your progress.   This way, you know where you’re heading.

3)    Coach – Find a coach to help you grow and develop.  If professional athletes have coaches to observe and provide feedback to help them improve their game, why don’t we have a coach at work?  Seek a coach to observe you work and helping you improve our skills.   This way you’ll continue to develop your skills.

4)    Believe in continuous learning – The day you stop learning, you’ll be left behind by everyone else.  It is important to continue to learning new things and increase your capabilities.

5)    Network and collaborate – I believe in the saying that no man is an island.  I encourage you to network and connect with others.   Find a common interest and collaborate to develop new things; by doing this, you’ll expand your horizon.

6)    When in doubt ask questions – Early on in my career, I paid the price for assuming things.  In the end, certain mistakes took a long time for me to recover from.  I advise that you ask questions and avoid the headache altogether.

7)    Lastly, do something nice for someone.   The random act of kindness can make someone’s day or help someone overcome some challenges.  If we share our knowledge and experience, we can make this world a better place.

I’ll end this blog post by sharing a poem by William Arthur Ward.

Another fresh new year is here
Another year to live
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!

Embrace the gift of a brand new day.  Face it with enthusiasm and make the most of it.    Remember that the choice is yours – to be happy or to be sad.   Happy New Year to everyone!   May the New Year bring good health and prosperity to you and your family.