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Madonna, GenFlux and You -- Staying relevant

A few nights ago, I went to a National Association of Women Business Owners meeting to hear my pal Jessica Kizorek speak. It was the night after the Superbowl and Madonna was still on my mind.

MadonnaI've been really annoyed by Madonna lately. To me, she comes off as pretentious --even a bit mean when she talks about younger stars like Lady Gaga. But I do give Madonna singer-dancer-actress credit for trying to make herself relevant by realizing she needs to colloborating on her new single with a hip young talent like Nicki Minaj. I also give her credit for recently adding to her tool bag of skills by becoming a filmmaker. 

Anyway, it seems like all of us are looking for new ways to fit in and stay relevant. At the NAWBO meeting, Jessica brought up a thought provoking article that just came out in Fast Company Magazine on Generation Flux. It basically talks about how chaotic the world has become and what that means to you and me and businesses. With all the chaos, the article says, it has become difficult to predict the future and gain competitive advantages.

It asks: "What skills matter most? How do you weigh risk and opportunity when the fundamentals of your business may change overnight?

How many of you feel like the world is changing so quickly it's hard to keep up? I have my hand up.

As the article points out: our cars are cloud-connected media hubs, our schools are going online, our music, TV and movies are being redefined in novel ways -- there is no question we are in a new world.

Now, here's the point of the article --- Any business that ignores these transformations does so at its own peril. Sometimes changing direction is rough. Every business needs to find and evolve the structure and culture that best allows it to stay competitive as its specific market shifts.

Here's what you personally must know, according to the article:  Nostalgia is as useful as an appendix right now. Don't hide from change. Every person must acknowledge that the most important skill is the ability to acquire new skills.You do not have to be a jack of all trades to flourish in the age of flux, but you do need to be open-minded.

Jessica says we must take the time to invest in ourselves. She says we must figure out what we're good at and communicate it. But we also must take the time to become good at more things and we must participate in the digital world.

Right now, you might be saying, I don't have the time to learn new skills, my plate is full. Or, I don't even know where to start.

What both Jessica and the article point out is that "it's irresponsible not to use the tools of the day." She recommended, as a start we use the Internet more effectively. She suggested all the businesswomen in the room fill out their Google Plus profile and own their own name as a URL.

This morning, a newspaper article caught my eye. It was about Pinterest, an up-and-coming, image-sharing social media site that is growing exponentially, particularly with women. Normally, I would have just glazed over it. I know Pinterest exists but haven't taken the time to find out what it's all about. But now, I realize I can't do that. (Here's an article that describes how to use Pinterest) As my media industry shifts, even though I'm struggling each day with work life balance, I HAVE to keep relevant if I want to stay in the game.

So readers, what do you think of this premise that you have to participate in and embrace chaos? Are you doing anything new or different to stay relevant?

Even more, are you in a workplace that's not embracing or adapting the necessary changes and endangering its future? Is there any skill you have that can help it become more agile?