Planned Obsolescence - The Personal Development Skill You Must Learn

Planned Obsolescence - The Personal Development Skill You Must Learn
One thing is for certain in this world - change is happening fast!

Today's technologies and work process are not simply evolving slowly, they are being replaced overnight. In the past perhaps you could see how the technology was evolving and the company would provide training for you to learn. That's no longer the case. Disruptive technologies can be introduced and go viral almost overnight. New businesses can form and drive out old stalwarts, forcing them to close up shop.ย 

Planned Obsolescence is business concept that you need to think about when developing your own career strategy so that you can grow and thrive in the ever changing business climate we live in today. What is Planned Obsolescence?ย 

Planned obsolescenceย ย "is a business strategy in which the obsolescence (the process of becoming obsoleteโ€”that is, unfashionable or no longer usable) of a product is planned and built into it from its conception.ย 
The Economist, March 23, 2009

When considering your career development trajectory in the rapidly changing, technological world of the 21st Century, skills obsolescence is an issue workers of all ages and types need to consider from both the employer and employee perspectives. As the owner of You, Inc. this is an issue you need to be aware of and plan for. ย 

Strictly speaking, planned obsolescence refers to the development of a product so that the purchaser or user almost certainly must buy a new and improved version at a later time. This process keeps customers coming back for more, creating a relatively stable revenue stream based on existing customers rather than relying on finding new customers. This is exactly what you want employers to do with you โ€“ keep coming back to you every time there is a technological change. You don't want them to switch products, that is, lay you off and hire someone else to replace you.ย 

With rapid or disruptive change, today's hot skills become useless tomorrow. ย 

Larry Boyer

When thinking about planned obsolescence there are two views that are critical to understand โ€“ the view of the customer about the product and the view of the business selling the product. When considering the Business of You the customers are the employers and as CEO of You, Inc. you are the producer and seller of your services.ย 

The Employee View and The Product of You

The 21st Century labor market is rapidly changing. Today's leading edge technology you've mastered is irrelevant in just a few years. Then what? As the owner of the Business of You, you need to be plan for your skills to become less valuable over time and eventually obsolete. You need to make investments to keep your skills relevant in an evolving world.

As you mature in the workplace you also need to be aware of your cost competitiveness as new workers enter the labor forces with the latest tools and technology already mastered and willing to work at a lower salary than a more experienced worker. In an age of rapid technological change and in a profession that demands keeping up with the latest technology and innovations the importance of years of experience for carrying out the technical work diminishes. Understanding how to leverage past experience with new technologies becomes paramount. ย 

Consumer View โ€“ The Employer

Businesses are continually evolving to meet the needs of their customers. As new technology is introduced businesses are able to supply more information, higher quality information and superior products. Big Data and Advanced Analytics are providing greater insight into customer preferences. New product introduction, such as the iPad, is disrupting entire industries. Each of the disruptive technologies requires people with new skills to utilize them. Business are faced with the choice of retaining and retraining existing staff or laying off current staff and replacing them with staff who already have mastered the technology. ย 

For more experienced workers who have invested many years of training and work using one technology are especially vulnerable to a shift. When a new technology is developed, experiences counts for little, leveling the playing field between more experienced workers and less experienced workers. Depending on the nature of the work this can also lead to a pay disparity between the more experienced worker and the newer one. If the value of experience is diminished should a company higher someone who is more or less expensive?ย 

Key Message

Regardless of which perspective you look at, the skills that you have are depreciating faster than ever. As your career progresses you become increasingly vulnerable to a technological change. As a result you need to include in your Career Strategic Plan a continuous learning and development element that keeps your skills current. If you fail to do this, The Business of You risks losing its work and heading for bankruptcy. Now is the time to start planning.

About the Author

3470cc03.jpgLarry Boyerย is a beBee Ambassador and helps people and businesses prepare for the disruptive and evolving economy of the 21st Century and Fourth Industrial Revolution. He does this through combining his work with advanced analytics, business strategy and personal development, changing emphasis to meet the specific needs of his clients. He founded Success Rockets LLC in 2009 in the shadow of the financial crisis to address the career development needs of people in a rapidly shifting economy. Success Rockets(R) evolved to include the evolving challenges from the 4th Industrial Revolution, disruptive technologies and the business models of the Gig Economy. He is both a Certified Business Economist (TM) and Associate Accredited Coach, providing a truly unique set skills to help his clients succeed. He is a recognized leader in both analytics and coaching, speaking and writing on both topics.ย 

Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryBoyerย 

For additional valuable content and to learn more about how Success Rockets can help you visitย

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thumb_up Relevant message Comment
Debesh Choudhury

Debesh Choudhury

4 years ago #11

Very important message "Plan obsolescence" .. it is relevant to everybody

Lisa Gallagher

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #10

Great tips Larry Boyer, \ud83d\udc1d Brand Ambassador, I love when good posts resurface!

Lyon Brave

Lyon Brave

4 years ago #9

hot skills become useless tomorrow :( how will we ever keep up lol

Larry Boyer, ๐Ÿ Brand Ambassador

Thanks Donna-Luisa Eversley

Larry Boyer, ๐Ÿ Brand Ambassador

Good question Joseph Sprute. There can be many reasons one doesn't want to be remember, some form isolation (as you mention) to others who are content with existence as it is, a humility of sorts.

Larry Boyer, ๐Ÿ Brand Ambassador

Interesting points @JosephSprute. I suppose it depends on your objectives and what you want to be remembered for or if at all.

Larry Boyer, ๐Ÿ Brand Ambassador

Thanks Zacharias \ud83d\udc1d Voulgaris. Yes, it is another angle on the principles in "Who Took My Cheese".

Zacharias ๐Ÿ Voulgaris

Intriguing and very relevant in today's ever-changing market. It reminds me very much of the "Who Took My Cheese?" book, which I'd highly recommend for all kinds of professionals.

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

4 years ago #3

Truly, with the diverse, agile technologies and changes, the more you're aware, adaptive of the market dynamics, the more you find everything easygoing. Otherwise, with disruptive changes, lagging behind means muddling mess.

Larry Boyer, ๐Ÿ Brand Ambassador

Thanks !

Prakashan B.V

Prakashan B.V

4 years ago #1

Larry Boyer..Thanks for this nice article.

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