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In the world of strategy, there’s been a long-held belief in a sustainable competitive advantage—you find an attractive place in an attractive industry, throw up entry barriers, and exploit the advantage for a long period of time. However, in more and more parts of our economy, competitive advantages just aren’t lasting as long as they used to, and companies are having to continuously refresh their competitive advantages as they become irrelevant.

At the recent Career Mastery Kickstart Summit, I joined executive coach May Busch to share how individuals in this new transient advantage economy can succeed in their careers. None of us wants to come out on the wrong end of an inflection point and end up like the former employees of Nokia, for example. So how do you prepare yourself for unexpected career changes?

Here’s a handy checklist of ten questions to ask yourself:

1. If your current situation were to change, would you be able to find another equally attractive situation? What would you do if you suddenly lost your job tomorrow?

2. How well-known are you within your industry? Are you considered a thought leader? Are you able to clearly articulate how you uniquely add value?

3. Have you worked in some meaningful capacity with at least five organizations sometime in the last two years?You can’t plan your job opportunities, but you can make it more likely for serendipity to come your way by growing your network.

4. Have you learned a meaningful new skill? The skills that got you to where you are might not be the skills that help you recuperate from a career setback.

5. Have you attended a course or training program in the last two years? It’s not only an important way to keep from getting stale, it’s also a great way to meet people.

6. Can you name off the top of your head ten people who would be useful conduits for new connections? The deeper your network, the more expansive your reach for potential new opportunities. If you can’t name ten contacts, try taking even just an hour or two per week to invest in meeting people and building up social capital. And if you do have a sizeable network, make sure that you’re keeping those ties warm by continuously connecting and not just reaching out when you need something from them.

7. Are you actively engaged with at least two personal or professional network groups? And do people in the group know you, or are you stuck behind the scenes?

8. Do you have enough resources that you could take time off to retrain or refuel? Do you have a rainy day fund for transitions? Or will an interruption be a disaster?

9. Do you have multiple income streams? What skills can you charge for? In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to launch a side gig—and add to your rainy day fund.

10. How flexible are you with respect to location? Are you able to relocate to where there may be greater opportunities, or are you constrained geographically?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this list, my recommendation is to pick one or two items to focus on each quarter. Think of this as a simple guide to help you pinpoint any areas of vulnerability and make sure that you’re building up resilience in case the unexpected happens.

“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?