Would you dump your life savings into a single stock? Probably not–it’s far too risky to put all your eggs in one investment basket. Yet you’d be surprised how many people manage their careers with a “single-stock” mindset. They toil away, year after year, investing their talents in a narrow field of interest.
Until recently, this approach made a lot of sense. Conventional wisdom dictates that if you do one thing really well, you’ll never be out of a job. But times have changed, and so have job strategies. While it’s still true that a solid career is built on a foundation of position-specific expertise, it’s become increasingly important to maintain a balanced portfolio of skills and accomplishments.
When employers look for talent, they typically choose people with the proficiency to perform certain tasks. But what they really want–especially in today’s hyper-competitive market–is an adaptable breed of employee whose broad-based skill set crosses over into a variety of disciplines.
Want proof? Poke your head into any meeting room in which star performers are present. You’re likely to hear a sales manager exploring the potential of XML technology, or an engineer debating the virtues of a strategic alliance, or a CFO pondering the benefits of a co-branding opportunity. In other words, when organizations struggle, more is expected from each person. This means that versatility is not only fashionable–it’s a key ingredient in modern-day career progression.