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Living on the edge

Most people who come to me for Career Direct assessments indicate that security is an important factor for them when considering a career. We like to predict the outcome of things to come as accurate as possible. Most people are risk averse, and “living on the edge” is not a comfort zone.

Doing business

Yet, thirty years ago already business guru Tom Peters wrote in his book Thriving on Chaos that

predictability is a thing of the past.

He said that markets are in chaos and business people somehow need to not only survive, but need to learn how to thrive in such an environment.

Nowadays we see it everywhere. You go to the traffic department to renew a licence and it takes you an hour longer than you expected and you need to set aside a day for an application of an ID or passport at Domestic Affairs.

A friend of mine who has a shuttle business is regularly upset about planes arriving late; some one hour others four or five hours. It becomes increasingly difficult for him to make appointments to pick up clients at a certain time, because of the unexpected delays of customers arriving late. Glad that I’m not in charge of the control tower trying to manage all the late arrivals. I read the same about trains running late.


Seems like Tom Peters was spot on when he said that “predictability is a thing of the past.” The technological advances during the last decade or two make it hard to keep up. You buy a new cell phone or computer and soon it will be outdated. A former colleague of mine who lectured computer science, loved to use the phrase “long, long time ago, in computer terms, about six months ago.”


We also have continual fluctuations of the fuel price, the exchange rate and the price of almost every other product, service or commodity. Farmers who plant and sow seldom have any idea of what prices they will receive at harvest time.

# Thriving on chaos

Another aspect of chaotic markets is that we have such a variety of brands or models to choose from. When you consider buying a new motor vehicle, you have a huge variety of manufacturers and models in each price range to choose from. Similarly when buying shampoo, soap, bread, milk, whatever, there is a huge variety to choose from.

Therefore producers need to distinguish their products or services in an overcrowded market. The way to do that is to make excellence the benchmark of whatever you do. Tom Peters says that in such a market our products and services need to not only stand out, they need to stand wáy out. This also applies to your job if you are employed with some or other company.

Does your contribution to the company stand wáy out?

Chip Ingram in his book Living on the Edge asks the question “Have you discovered the real you? According to him we need to answer three questions about ourselves:

  1. Who am I?
  2. Where do I belong?
  3. What am I supposed to do?

You can only stand out in your work or business when you play (work) according to your strengths. Do you really know where you best fit in the world of business or employment? This also applies for your children and your employees.

A Career Direct Assessment will help you know and understand your authentic self. It makes all the difference.

Also tune in to my program “Jy die Entrepreneur” Monday evenings at 20:00 on Radio Namakwaland



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