Increasing competitiveness in today’s international market often depends on a professional’s ability to stand out from the crowd. Being noteworthy and memorable, goes hand-in-hand with being different from other people in your line of work. How does one become different? A professional can become impressively different by connecting cultural dots, predicting future trends, and leading new trends.
Connecting cultural dots
Connecting cultural dots means to know the history and progression of your industry. Can you see a pattern or evolution in your industry? How did it begin? What does the pattern look like now? What will the pattern look like in the next year, five years, or ten years? If we connect the cultural dots, we can predict what new trend, product, or concept will be introduced in the future. Then you can master and lead the change.
Predicting future trends
“I told you so”, “I knew it”, “You see, I was right”, “Hey, I thought of that a long time ago”, “Only if I had acted on my idea, that could have been me”. A little imagination goes a long way in today’s market; so follow through with your innovative ideas. We live in a global culture where Creative Destruction allows us to discover and reinvent new products or concepts every day.
For example, let's look at how you can professionally benefit from the effects of new legislation. If local, regional, or national legislation is going to change or impact your industry, what are all the cause and effect relationships that will eventually result? Imagine as many possible outcomes and then prepare for them. Can you develop a new product or create a new business that will help others comply with the new legislative mandate? If you are flexible, creative, and act promptly, you can increase your competitive edge and become a leader in an industry that doesn’t even exist yet.
Leading new trends
A forward thinking professional who provides a new service or product will be a memorable leader. To increase your competitiveness, try to be different from your competition by introducing a new product or trend that others will follow. In today’s globalized market, it is essential to lead and be an industry expert. But avoid doing something that’s already well-established and popular among your competitors. Connect the cultural dots and predict what will be happening in the next few years. Then begin an appropriate short or longer-term plan including your vision, goals, methods, and project deadlines to accomplish specific objectives.
What if you found out about a new product to be released next year? Image the ripple effect of introducing that product into the market. That ability to identify macro and micro economic and social effects provides you with the time and vision needed to prepare for the product’s release. This process allows you to capitalize by increasing your expertise within that industry before the majority of others catch on. The product will most likely need accessories, marketing, and sales professionals. Can you already predict future ways to improve that product? How could you use that product differently? Lead the way and be branded an expert in the trend.
Let’s take a look into the performing arts industry; in particular, at major icons described as American “Bomb Shells” (attractive blonde female music artists who revolutionized their industry). First in the 1950s and early 1960s, Marilyn Monroe presented a new signature style of sexual expression considered to be culturally risqué within her entertainment industry. Yes, the social shock did present some resistance but the extensive number of her followers made Marilyn a leader and top competitor of her trade. Then in the 1980s and 1990s Madonna broke through Marilyn’s self-expressive boundaries and led the masses into even newer and more culturally progressive trends. Next, in the early to mid-2000s, Britney Spears had expanded culturally tolerated sexual and musical ideologies and became a global leading performer with countless fans. And currently, the envelope is being pushed by Lady Gaga, a musician who redefines new international phenomena. My point is that these musical artists are not famous because they blended in with their competition. They succeeded because they recognized the progression pattern of their industry, predicted new trends, and became leaders of those trends.
A leader is a frontrunner and expert of a new concept or a new product (whatever that may be). To be a top competitor and leader, connect the dots of cultural or industry patterns, predict new trends, products, or concepts, and lead the trend with preparation and innovation in your respective field.