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Are you ready? 'Thrival' skills needed for next millennium

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If you think "thrival" it is a new word, you are right and I believe I am the creator.

As all of us byte and glitch our way into 2000, it seems to me we have two choices: we can survive or thrive. I'm voting for thriving.

For me, survival has a "trial by endurance" quality. When I watch people survive in a corporate world they usually only talk about three things: the next break, the next vacation and retirement. Work is something to get through to get to the good stuff in life anything that doesn't have to do with work.

Surviving is marked by headaches, grinding teeth and pain-in-the-butt meetings.

So, we consume vast quantities of Excedrin PM and Jack Daniels in the corporate survival kit and then accent the drugs with reams of Dilbert cartoons and hours of Microsoft solitaire.

We have another choice.

Thriving, not surviving, is a decision someone makes who sees work as part of life. In this robust and extravagant economy, why would anyone choose to survive a work-life? In spite of your gluttonous e-mail box and eternally chirping pager, this is the best of times.

I am convinced the choice to thrive is followed with the decision to learn some new competencies: thrival skills.

The first skill for the future is to build a career, not a job. With the advent of microprocessors, corporations have discovered they no longer have the time or money to function as a parent to their employees. The "you get here by 8 a.m., do your work, don't give us any trouble, and we will guarantee a job for life" mentality went out with Perry Como sweaters.

There simply is not enough time or money for organizations to play the paternal role.

If you choose to put your brain on ice for the next 20 years, there will be no job for you. The employee who actively reads, trains and explores to develop a career will be the ultimate winner in the new millennium.

The second skill is bounce, don't box. The question is, "How do you respond when you are challenged?" Get ready, the future will be in your face.

Resilience is the question here. When you are asked to move from your comfortable office (complete with family photos, Successories posters and Whoopie cushion) to an open, team environment, how will you respond?

When you are asked to learn new skills which require reading and training, how will you respond?

When you are asked to make million-dollar deals over the Internet with people you have never met, how will you respond?

You can spend the rest of your corporate life seething out, "over my dead body" (which your boss has probably considered) or you can bounce back. I'm not suggesting blind resignation to an organization which is victimizing you, but I am recommending a new, pliable quality of mind and spirit to deal with megahertz mentality of 2000.

The final skill is anticipation. Anticipation means you identify what will be a debilitating problem a year from now which your organization needs to work on today.

The just-in-time thinking of today screams, "procrastinate or perish." We assume that FedEx or AOL will bail us out at the last minute. It has become very convenient to put off until tomorrow what should be done today.

The skill of anticipation assumes another approach. It is, "we can thrive tomorrow when we take care of tomorrow's problem, today."

Anticipation will require 1. the sponsorship of senior management, 2. a team approach to problem-solving, and 3. a willingness to deal with the protests of existential people who believe working on next year's problems is a gross waste of time (these are the same people who don't think Dilbert is funny).

So, do you want to survive today by dragging yourself through claustrophobic corridors of chaos, or are you ready to thrive?

The new millennium will be unkind to the survivors.

(Dr. Cal LeMon solves organizational problems with customized training and consulting. His company, The Executive Edge, can be contacted at his Web site,

www.executive-edge.com

by phone at 889-4040 or e-mail at callemon@aol.)

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