New Rules for Work Labs

April Rinne on Changes, Challenges and Futures in Flux

December 14, 2023 April Rine Season 1 Episode 3
New Rules for Work Labs
April Rinne on Changes, Challenges and Futures in Flux
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we're joined by April Rinne, Global Futurist & Keynote Speaker, Thinkers50, and author of FLUX: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change. The conversation touches upon April's journey in writing her book and the epiphany that led to its formation. She elaborates on the concept of 'flux mindset' to help prepare for unwanted life changes. She also discusses the increasing trend of building a career portfolio and how it provides a more holistic perspective of an individual's skills and experiences. April also reveals the eight flux superpowers to better navigate the rapidly changing world.

02:59 The Timing and Motivation Behind Publishing 'Flux'
05:01 The Concept of Flux and Dealing with Uncontrolled Change
09:00 The Importance of Daily Self-Reflection
09:58 What Does the World Need from Me?
16:13 The Power of Teamwork in Navigating Change
17:19 The Eight Superpowers
30:26 Exploring the Concept of Career Portfolio
39:14 Connect with April

Episode Resources

To learn more about April and her work:
April's website: www.aprilrinne.com
For Flux mindset resources: www.fluxmindset.com

New Rules for Work Labs


Producer: Podrick Sonicson

To learn more about New Rules for Work:
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Event: 2024 Intent to Impact in Austin, TX

David:

Welcome to the new Rules for Work labs, where we're rewriting the rules of work. In our lab, we glean insights from the world's foremost minds, exploring leadership, team dynamics, creativity, artificial intelligence, and more. Join us as we dissect, analyze, and incubate ideas shaping the future workplace. Stick around to learn how we turn these insights into practical activities. Get ready for a journey into the future of work. This is the new Rules for Work Labs, where insights meet action. Today we're joined in the lab by April Rinney. In listening back to this episode, I think there are three, three parts to this discussion that we have that are worth listening for. The first one, April talks about how writing her book came to be and that it wasn't immediately apparent that she needed to do it. And it was only after 15, 20 years, did she look back When she had the epiphany that she needed to write the book that she had actually been writing it over the course of those last 15 to 20 years through all of her different life experiences. And this magical question, what does the universe need for me helped her realize what she needed to do. Second part of the discussion is all about flux mindset. And how do we prepare for the changes in our life we do not choose? So there's the changes we choose and then there's the changes we don't choose. And those tend to be the ones that we don't do so well with, but we can do better. So how? The last part of the discussion focuses on building a career portfolio. April mentioned to us that this was the hottest part of her consulting practice right now was helping people put together a career portfolio. You probably have a resume. Maybe you have a CV, whatever you call it, you have some, generally accepted version of your work history. April puts a spin on it and says you should have a portfolio and it's probably different than anything you have right now. Take a listen. Here we go with April Rennie in the lab.

April Rinne:

So here we go.

Elise Keith:

So April, you clearly are the author of your Life now you have a fabulous background in legal, in all kinds of professions, and now you're a futurist, a humanist just acknowledged as a Thinker's 50 award winner. Congratulations, by the way. thank you. How did that come to be? why was this the right journey for you and why was it the right time to publish Fluxx your book on embracing change.

April Rinne:

It's quite funny because Flux, the book came out in 2021. Now, a lot of people were like, Oh, flux, world in flux. We had a pandemic in 2020. Like perfect timing. I'm sitting there going like, yeah, no, this is not a pandemic project. Um, this is at that time, this is 25 years in the making. Now, for 20 of those years, I would have told you, I'm not writing a book, ever. It became something that I couldn't not do. And it became something that I wasn't writing a book so that it would be a bestseller. I wasn't writing it to tick a You know, uh, uh, to tick a box, but I was writing this because it was the, it was the best gift I could leave to humanity. And I, I felt, it wasn't that I had to write a book, it was that I couldn't not write a book. And there was a, there's a big mental shift that goes on there. It was really about the human condition and what it means to be human in a world in flux. And when I really dig deep and realize, like, what caused me to be interested in a world in flux? And where did I have to kind of start my journey? It goes way back to when I was 20, and, this is no, it's no surprise, it's no secret, but my, my entry into a world in flux happened when I was 20, I was in college, and, I was studying overseas, and I got the phone call that no one ever wants to get, which was that both my parents had died in a car crash. And I realize I'm just putting, like, a big problem into our conversation, but I bring this up because it wasn't about my career journey, it wasn't about my resume, it wasn't about what title I'm going to have or will I be successful. It was like, oh my gosh, my whole life, my whole future just kind of melted. Now, I knew that at some point I would lose my parents, we all naturally do, but I didn't expect it then. And so, that's when I started to pull on this thread of A world influx. What happens, what do you do when you don't know what to do? And how do you use really hard change and uncertainty to convert it into Something useful, something helpful for others. In my case it was losing both my parents, but for everybody there will be moments, not just one off, moments in our lives where we're really called to question like, why are we building what we're building? Are we really living in alignment with, with values, with reality of the world, with, you know, how we show up for each other and for ourselves.

Elise Keith:

So as you're telling that story, and I think about what was happening about the time that your book came out, a lot of people were facing change. And, and there's all this, you know, FUD about, oh, rate of change is faster than ever before, which is, you know, maybe. But in terms of people's personal experience of change, a lot more people had an opportunity and the, the great tragedy to face the kind of change you were talking about that inspired you 20 years ago. So when you talk about your eight superpowers in Flux, are you looking specifically for those moments that really challenge us in change as opposed to the noise of change?

April Rinne:

Oh, yes, most definitely. So I hear from people every, every week, if not every day, that have all kinds of different relationships, takes on change. And, you know, in particular, I hear people saying, I love change. Like, change is awesome. I'm a change junkie. And, and I'm always like, that's great. Like, what do we mean when we say change? And change is one of those words, we often treat it like it's one thing, change. So it's all the same. But the fact is, there are many different kinds of change and change can be messy and hard and scary and horrible and it can be amazing and life changing and inspiring and right and like what kind of change are We talking about? One of the biggest distinguishers that I've found in my research is that humans love changes we choose We love the changes we opt into. And that can be a new job, can be a new relationship, can be a new adventure, can be a new haircut, whatever. Like, we love those changes. The changes we struggle with are the ones we don't control. And that can be, you know, plans get blindsided, turned upside down, like you thought it was going to be X and it's Y, like, those are the changes we struggle with. And so when I talk about flux, the changes we love are upside, like all upside. And I'm not worried about helping people navigate those because we enjoy them. It's not that the changes we choose always turn out well. My favorite example is like that haircut, right? You're bringing up ghosts of terrible haircuts. You see it differently and you appreciate it because you had a say in creating it. And so flux is not about change we choose. It's not about the easy change. It's the changes we don't control and not just one, but it's the multitude. It's the succession of change after change after change. And this sense of we don't control it and, and we don't really know what to do when we feel like the wheels are kind of falling off the car. That's flux.

Elise Keith:

I love a lot of what you do in your book about reframing. Going from these places of fear into hope. so imagining that you're in that moment where you've been hit by the change that you did not ask for and did not want. You've got eight things that they should know about. Where do they start?

April Rinne:

I realize that we don't want to make things too dark. And at the same time, I'm like, it's not dark in that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but you have to go through the tunnel. And I think about even that experience after losing my parents. And like, there was a very dark period. And I remember every single day, that there was this moment, like I would wake up and I would be like, that didn't really happen. It was a really bad dream. I'm waking up, and then I'm like, No, it happened. Oh, okay, now what? It started with literally every day asking myself All right, I can't control what happened. It happened and I gotta figure out what to do. I have I have a choice to make though and I have 100 percent control over this choice No one can ever take it away from me and no one can do it for me and that choice is simply: Do I want to look at what happened and say? Crap, the world was hard on me. I'm just going to kind of crawl in a corner and just like, woe is me, poor me, whatever. Or am I going to say this happened and it was hard, but actually all I'm going to try to do today is put one foot in front of the other. Put one foot in front of the other and show up and be myself as fully and as, as authentically as I can and see what happens. And that was it, right? Any kind of change, that sense of you can't control what happened, but you can control like, how do I want to show up for it? So where to start...The mindset is the first piece.

Dave Mastronardi:

If I can just ask, because I'd love to get in the flux mindset. And I'm thinking about what you said about your book, you got to this point where you couldn't not write it. And that sounded like it took decades. You, maybe you didn't know it at some point it went from, Oh, actually I've been accumulating these experiences and they all fit into this framework. And I'm wondering if from a modeling standpoint, does the flux mindset try to get you to that point? Where, of course, it's not about it's about anything, whether it's the book or taking the new job or moving on from a relationship, but to the point like where I couldn't not do it. Is that like, Hey, I've got to, in order for me to do this, I have to get it in my head. I can't not make this change.

April Rinne:

Hmm. I love that Dave. This is great. For me, a defining question from age 20 onwards, and I mean, I ask it every day. I asked it this morning. I hope people are like, this morning? I'm like, Every day, and that question is simply if I were to die tomorrow, and I don't want to, and I don't plan to, and I don't think it'll happen, but it could. If I were to die tomorrow, what does the world, so not a boss, not social media, not my ego, what does the world at large need me to do today? And so I bring this up back to the book. And what happened back in 2014, and again, I can place it, I know the date it happened, I remember the moment it happened. But it wasn't as though there was one life experience. It was a moment in time and all of a sudden through my body, I just, I could, there was a clarity which became, I was like, if I were to die tomorrow, the world needs this information today. I need to get this book out. I gotta get this out because if something were to happen to me tomorrow, I would know that this was my best shot at sharing what I'd learned and what I wish I'd known earlier in life with those who come after me. Does that make

Dave Mastronardi:

sense? Yeah, absolutely. And to help clarify that. When you ask yourself, what does the world need from me? It sounds like you're not the author. But I think you're just using that as a lens through which you can maybe voice what it is you need to do.

April Rinne:

What does the world need me to do today? Now, I need, I need to deliver that. Right. The question I often get, though, is people have said, well, you went through tragedy and you had to respond and you had to, you know, your, your, your, your world was flipped upside down. Is it possible to get to that kind of clarity if you haven't had that kind of hardship? And I want to bring that up because this is my story. Everyone has their own story. It is absolutely possible for everyone to have this this kind of growth, um, it's a lot more fun without the tragedy, frankly, but at the same time, if you have been blessed and privileged to have a life that has been not that hard and da da da da, you do have a responsibility. There's a kind of responsibility to from time to time disrupt yourself. It won't just happen naturally, but it's the people who often haven't had a lot of hardship that are the ones, they're also frustrated because they're like, when is anything ever going to change? You're like, well, if you want to, sometimes you do need to create that change yourself, and you have a lot more agency. Speaking of changes you control, you actually get to control this one. For many people, they don't get to control it, but they still end up having sometimes greater growth because of that.

Elise Keith:

I completely hear what you're saying there. As a parent, I know that we often think about our own rough childhoods and the, and the tragedies that we experienced and how they were formative for who we are now. And we're like, should we traumatize our children just a little bit more? You know, it's like, no, no, no, no. Actually, there are other ways to connect with what you're about.

April Rinne:

Challenge,

Elise Keith:

right? Like there are other ways to grow, you know. But in terms of a flux mindset and dealing with managing, navigating change, undesirable change, I heard in there, uh, a way in which to connect with who you are in the moment and how you take the next step forward, regardless of where that came from.

April Rinne:

Yep. And it's a very good moment to define the flux mindset. So it's the ability to see all change. And I mean, especially the changes you didn't choose, the changes you don't control, the changes that you just didn't see coming. It's the ability to see all of them. as an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve. Very

Dave Mastronardi:

cool. So then these eight principles. Yeah, are,

April Rinne:

are the, how, so how to, and, and the mindset and the superpowers. I think of them as sort of hand in glove. Step one is when I say to open a flux mindset, um, people go, God, that sounds overwhelming. I'm like, just start by acknowledging that your relationship to change can improve. Now then go, how do I strengthen it? What, what do I do about it? Step two, opening a flex mindset is step one. That leads you to step two, which is to develop and strengthen these eight flux superpowers. Which are what I think of as the skills, practices, habits, disciplines. I

Elise Keith:

wonder, I know you work with leadership groups and whatnot. that just sounds like such a great opportunity to get a team together and say, Hey, our, our fluxy superpower friends. Where do we all lean in? Like, how do we combine our skills and our, our gifts so that we can navigate change successfully together? How does this show up in teamwork

April Rinne:

that way? Well, you bring up another great point. So go back to the whole thing about like changes you love and changes you hate and what you're good at and what you're not good at and your, your unique relationship to change and your relationship to change is different than anyone else's because no one's had your set of life experiences and culture and background and upbringing. Now you, you pull together a team and it doesn't have to be that big. Five, ten people is plenty big, and you ask them, for how many of you would this be easy and for how many of you would this be hard? And in a given team, it's very common that the same change will be easy for somebody and hard for somebody else. And so, that is a trigger to ask, so why is it easy for this person? Right. And what can I learn from them? And what starts to happen is you get this team sharing and it's not that that person has a silver bullet for everyone else. But you start going, Oh, like my lens on change has just been really incomplete. And not only am I learning from my teammates about how to better navigate change, we're getting to know each other as well. And you do that enough times in team settings, there is so much wisdom, human wisdom we are sitting on when it comes to navigating change, but the vast majority of it is buried because these are not the kinds of conversations that we often have. And so in a team setting, Just starting by surfacing that is often fantastic.

Dave Mastronardi:

So, um, I, I'd like to get into some superpowers. Maybe we can do this by way of a game. April and, um, the name, So the name of this game is Zero Flux Given. And the idea is what superpowers might we employ to make this change more palatable. So I'll read the scenario and then. You comment. Um, so here we go amidst the shocking confusion of a sudden company wide meeting, you learn that the beloved leader you admire has been, been unceremoniously let go as you sit there processing the news, your mind races with uncertainty about the company's future direction. In an attempt to lift the somber mood, a senior executive awkwardly attempts to crack a joke that falls flat, leaving an uneasy silence in the room. As colleagues exchange glances filled with concern, you find yourself contemplating whether the workplace will ever be the same without the leader who brought inspiration and camaraderie. In the midst of this uncertainty, you can't help but wonder what the new chapter holds for both you and the company. Sound familiar? This

April Rinne:

Let me guess, exactly. Uh, exciting, exciting times in the world of AI. Um, gosh, so I, and it's funny, I run through the eight. And I'm wondering if we want to do, like, one sentence about each of the eight. Because there are probably three. That would be really cool. Yeah, let me do that because it's just, just so that people have a context. So from the top, as listed in the book, the first flux superpower is what's called run slower. This is all about our pace of change. And the fact that in a world that feels like it's changing ever faster, ever faster, our key to success is to learn how to run slower. And what I mean by that, it's not giving up or being lazy. It's learning how to mitigate and moderate your own pace of change. So that you can not only deal with things like burnout and anxiety, but how you can make better decisions, how you can lead more effectively, because it's when we're constantly running fast that we make mistakes, that we screw up, that we can't see, that we don't recognize what's going on, etc. Yeah, that's my world.

Elise Keith:

We're too busy meeting all the time to fix our meetings.

April Rinne:

Exactly. And guess what? Apparently, that pace of change is We think just getting faster. So if it's a problem today, unless and until we actually course correct this, it's going to become a bigger, not smaller problem. Is there more change today? We don't know, but it is absolutely true that the average human is far more aware of more change on any given day than ever. And that's, we're struggling with the psychology of the human brain is just not designed to deal with a barrage of information about change 24 7. I think,

Elise Keith:

you know, just if we're going to talk about that, like how we started today is talking about what happened at OpenAI over the weekend. So we're recording this. Sam Altman was fired. He's now at Microsoft and we're all like, Oh my gosh, what does this mean to us? Well, it means nothing to us right now. None of us work at open AI. None of us work at Microsoft. That's, you know, our awareness, our intimate awareness of the day to day change. That's the things that are. In our environment is really

April Rinne:

enormous and overwhelming and even in the past not to get too wonky about this But in the past this kind of change would have happened kind of sort of Monday to Friday work week ish This has been a 24 hour news cycle every hour updates on all day Saturday all day Sunday. It's Monday morning 6 a. m And the news breaks. And you're like, wow, there was like, there's just no stopping. It doesn't matter the day of the week, doesn't matter the hour of the day, like, never mind that we can now be aware when natural disaster hits halfway around the world within minutes. And that can happen multiple times a day and we just like,

Dave Mastronardi:

yeah. Well, as an employee, you've been asked, will you sign this letter or not to ask the board to resign? It's like I've had to make my mind up from, you know, Friday afternoon over the weekend. And now Monday morning, I'm being asked to, um, give my, my verdict.

April Rinne:

Exactly. Exactly. And how fast all of this, just racing all the time way as opposed to really thinking through the power dynamics and the ripple effects that this kind of decision would have. You didn't take your, you didn't take your time to really think through the entirety of what this could mean. And now, you know, I think we in some, some scenarios have this that you've created far more problems than you actually thought you would solve. So run slow, back to the stars. So that's the first one. The second one is called see what's invisible. Now this is all about identifying our blind spots and also discovering new opportunities, new insights, new sources of value. It's really about what and how we see and how when change hits, we often focus on like what's right in front of us as opposed to a lot of that broader ecosystem context, which is where a lot of the insights and the new opportunities, the things that change brings forth are, are to be found. The third one is what's called get lost. Now this is all about stretching beyond your comfort zone and your relationship to the unknown. So often we think, even the phrase get lost, that usually means like, oh, you screwed up, you couldn't find your way. A world in flux makes it very clear that not only is not knowing where you are more and more common. It's actually something that if you learn to embrace it, you're going to be in a much better place for what's ahead, but you're going to see and be able to take advantage of things that other people don't. Number four is called Start with Trust. Uh, this is a big one because this is about how we Nurture relationships in order to navigate the unknown together. And one of the things I found in my many, many years of research on this is that when it comes to navigating change well over time, nothing, no single factor matters more than trust. And that means again, kind of like change: trust is more than just one word. that means trust of other people. That means trust that the sun will rise tomorrow. That means trust of yourself. And I find more and more that the hardest person to trust many people as themselves. The fifth one, fifth superpower is know, what I call know your enough. Uh, this is about our obsession with more, more, more, more, more in society. Uh, and fundamentally, this is about how we find balance and harmony and recalibrate. It's very much related to the run slower when we're constantly running faster, faster, faster. And we're living in a world in which More, more, more, more, more, we actually lose complete contact, touch with ourselves. And the know your enough, when change hits, an emphasis on knowing your enough as opposed to always going after ever more, makes you much better able, not just to adapt and pivot and all the rest, but actually to know what really matters. And to make those priorities, again, personally, professionally, etc. Sixth superpower is, it's unique in that it's the one that's very squarely focused on careers and the workplace, and the future of work that is also in flux. And it's called Create Your Portfolio Career, or Your Career Portfolio, depending. Uh, this is about how to design and own a career that is fit for a future of work in flux. The seventh, seventh superpower is called be all the more human. This is about our relationship to technology and the tension we face in that we're spending ever more time with our devices and ever less time with one another. And when it comes to navigating change, what you find is the more reliant you are on devices and apps that you think will solve that change or, you know, fix that change, when real change hits, The more reliant we are on technology, the more we struggle with the actual reality of navigating change. And last but not least, because, and this ties directly into your question, the scenario, earlier. The last, eighth and final superpower is called let go of the future. And I often hear people say like, you're a futurist, you can't say that. And what I want to hone in on here, this is all about our relationship to control. And when I say let go, it doesn't mean giving up or failing. This is about letting go of our obsession with wanting to predict and control the future and extend, and instead realizing that there is no, there is no one future, but there are many different possible futures that we're all bringing into being every single day. And so the scenario that we are presented, I would probably start with that last one on letting go of the future and realizing that given the changes that have just happened, there's not one future that's playing out here. There are many that could come into being. And have we mapped out and thought through what those could be? And are we prepared for the possibility? That not just not just a scenario in its entirety would happen, but that different threads from different scenarios may come to pass. So it's a mindset shift. It's a perspective shift, and it's a shifting from kind of prediction to preparation.

Dave Mastronardi:

And I think it would have been advisable for both the board in this case. And, you know, I think the scenario was more about I'm an employee at this company. What do I do now? But also the board, they clearly had a fixed set of what was going to happen because of whatever decision. And they, they needed to have their vision of the future, the way they, not just what they saw as the, the end state, but also seemingly the way to get there had to be the way that they envisioned it. And, um, what people don't understand now jumping into futurists. Yeah. It's not about predicting the future, right? Futurists help you think about lots of different futures.

April Rinne:

And I love this, because it's a great point, where we can think about this employee, looking forward, you can do a kind of future, a vision casting, scenario planning, scenario mapping. For your individual future, for the future of the company. Uh, you also can look back and say, gosh, the board might've wanted to do a little bit more scenario planning. They might've really wanted to think about the ripple effects, the different things that might have happened as a result of this decision and whether they were prepared to, you know, did they have a plan of action should these different eventualities, including the one that actually did, which I'm not sure many people. Saw coming. Um, but now that the news is out, it's like, well, we should have seen that coming.

Dave Mastronardi:

Right. Well, it only proves the point. You can't predict the future.

April Rinne:

Hindsight is so clear, isn't it? Well, we should have been able to brainstorm that this was a, this was an absolute, I mean, I would have said, okay, it's not as though these people are going to leave the world of AI. We know that. What might they go do? I could imagine their own venture. I could imagine they'd join another company. What company might that be? You know, like these are not, this is not rocket science. And it's not like we need a thousand of these things, but you, you map that out and you're like, right, you're going to have a free agent, you're gonna have a few free agents that could go and do all kinds of things. What might those things be? Are we prepared or what that new reality of the competitive landscape of the leadership landscape, you know, all of that, it

Elise Keith:

begs the simple pre mortem question. We're going to do this thing. How might it go wrong?

April Rinne:

Let's just, let's just spend a

Elise Keith:

minute. Um,

Dave Mastronardi:

I think we have maybe time for one more in Elise. I'd like, we were talking before April and Elise had a scenario, I think that was related to another one of the superpowers that I think might be fun and important to get to.

April Rinne:

I just wanted to bring up, though, back to this notion of one, one superpower will often lead to another, or you can look at how they kind of overlap. Um, we, we looked at let go of the future. I would also say this last point that we're talking about, see what's invisible. Right? Identify your blind spots, right? Blind spots all over this scenario, didn't really see them. And then of course we can look at things like, had they run slower and had they really thought through these things? And we can also look at things like trust. Because ultimately, if you look at the decision, it was a lack of trust. Um, and. You know, unpacking what kind of trust was it? You know, there's cognitive trust, there's emotional trust, et cetera. Each one of those is helpful, but they kind of layer on each other from a different angle on a given problem.

Elise Keith:

Right on. so I think I want to build on that scenario and then just take us to a slightly different one, because part of what caught our attention was your recent articles in Harvard Business Review about career portfolio. And we got curious about what, what the heck is that? What does it look like? How do I build one? Um, and I'm envisioning this employee who's had decided that this is no longer the company for them, or even, somebody that I happened to have been approached by recently, a young woman. And she was also curious about this career portfolio. idea because she's seeking a new career, but hasn't received any offers using her resume. Now, when you look at her resume, you can see why because she's basically been in the same tiny company. As a her LinkedIn, it says she's been a project manager. And the only recent, addition is a, is a PMP certification, right? So you see that, that certification sort of race that people do when they try to ladder up, So I asked, I got curious. I'm like, well, what have you been doing for 10 years in this company as a project manager? How do you stay a project manager for 10 years? Well, it turns out the company's small enough that they've never changed their titles. But in that time she had organized and run several international conferences. In Japan and Hawaii and Greece, she had taken over membership services for a client and done collections and she'd done secretariat services for their board. Had a child, moved some aging relatives, learned to knit and ran her first marathon. So taking a portfolio perspective, how do you help somebody like that re envision their career?

April Rinne:

Oh, I love this question. This is a great example. I look at this and I'm like, this is where resumes, yes, resumes are still a thing, but they just fall so short. We can look at this from the individual talent perspective of like, what's my career and what's the shape of my career. And we can look at this in terms of HR and talent acquisition, TA, da, da, da. In terms of like, where are you finding talent? How are they surfacing? Who's coming on your radar? How are you hiring? Like, do you even, do you have any ability to see Right. the breadth and depth of this woman's Capabilities, right? I don't even want to call it resume, it's like of who she is and what she can do and how she can contribute and so I think backing up just a half step in terms of like, what is a career portfolio and how is it different than what we've currently got and what we currently have is, is very much a career ladder kind of design. And so much of this is about how we design and shape and build not just our careers, but the HR function in organizations as well. And so if you think about the ladder, um, what's fascinating that the lattdders not how we've organized work for most of human history. I mean, it's very much a product of the first industrial revolution. Roughly 250 years ago. So some time, yes, but like prior to that, it was definitely not ladders. And the only reason we started having ladders is because with the first industrial revolution, we could finally build organizations at scale where you needed like factory workers and you needed hierarchy and you need it because it was big, right? But it's only, that's why the ladders evolved, but now what we're looking at is this metaphor for your career that is so deeply lodged in our heads and in our designs and we can't unsee it, we can't unlearn it, we can't think beyond it or we struggle to think beyond it. And yet, you look at the future of work and you look at what is happening in the workplace and you look at everything from job hopping, to the rise of independent talent to, oh, AI, which is obliterating how we think about skills and skills development. And I call all of this kind of a process of ladder breaking. And again, not, not in like a critical term, I'm not saying it's good or bad. Like ladders still exist. They're, they're just a increasingly small piece of an increasingly larger pie. But this notion of ladder breaking because of corporate policy, because of technology, but also more and more you have people saying, I don't want to be on a ladder that someone else built. I see the future and this is not very human friendly. This is not actually very, um, risk averse. Like, this just, this doesn't align. And so here we are going like, right, there's this big disconnect. But what we don't have and haven't really been creative around is what are the new shapes for your career. And so this is this notion of a portfolio which is different. Ladder is one directional up and if the ladder tilts over you're gonna probably fall off it. Not good. And you can fall off it because you get fired, because you hate your job, all sorts of things. Portfolio is a much more holistic way of looking at our career, what you do, how you do it, how you earn income, contribute to society. It's just so much more than your resume and you think about a ladder and a resume map really well with each other, right? Your resume sort of shows you working up the ladder shift over to the portfolio. Your portfolio is everything you can do that adds value to society. So that is absolutely everything that's on your resume, for sure. But it's all of this other stuff, and so the young woman you described, not only would she get, I mean I would suggest even on her resume, that she fleshed that, all of those different things she did, should be on her resume as a kind of waterfall of all the different skills she earned, she earned and learned. But then over on the portfolio, it would also include the moves, the parenting, the, you know, the training for a marathon, the discipline that requires the empathy of being a parent, and I'll just bring up parents, because that's what often is, it's a low hanging fruit thing, like, parenting is not on your resume, typically, for many people, especially women, it's It's kind of dinged if you put that anywhere, because it's like some kind of distraction. And yet, as far as I can tell, like, parenting skills are super skills for, I think, isolation, time management, empathy, right? Absolutely. And so why do we do this from your working life? Makes no sense. So something like parenting would be absolutely at the heart of your portfolio. So that's kind of, it's a different shape of our career. And also there's not one kind of portfolio. Uh, you can think about an artist's portfolio, which contains like your very best work. You have, can think of investors portfolio, which is designed to mitigate risk and maximize returns. You can think of executive portfolios. So executive theory from BCG, that's like crafting strategy to balance a present and the future a lot more people have like web portfolios or websites with their web portfolios on them. Managers use portfolios to stay organized. Like the point is you can remix these however you wish, like there's. Pick whatever version of that portfolio resonates most with you, and go from there. And I find there's usually like a split, like 50 percent of people like the artist, and 50 percent of people like the investor. Okay, you know, go with it. It's crafting who you are and what you can do much more around your skills than around your roles or your titles. And that's what's fascinating is if you unpack that young woman, like, she has all kinds of skills that could parlay her into all kinds of different roles. But if you look at her just from the perspective of title, all you see is this one thing. So we're kind of doing a flip of how we surface what you do, what you're capable of doing. And also, I mean, when done well, it also is much more, um, helpful and, efficient, you could say, effective at identifying what are those skills you want to learn? I mean more kind of like, there's a horizontal, like, where do you want to lateral to? What other position within your organization, like, would fit?

Dave Mastronardi:

Lateral.

April Rinne:

Lateral, I know.

Dave Mastronardi:

Yeah. So like you said, we could keep going. These are, I think everything we have here is absolutely applicable to even current events, which I think is one of the big challenges about, Business podcasts, you know, a lot of them are just so academic and it's so cool that we can take these scenarios, even though they were, uh, fictitious, they're absolutely playing out, um, right now at a macro level in the news, but also in everybody's lives, just given the situation. Um, yeah. We are. And there's more ahead. There's more ahead. We have, we have to do a part two. Uh, we can come back and do the portfolio. Yeah. We can, we can explore all these different metaphors. Um, for people to go out and begin to author their own lives, uh, better, more, where do they go, April, to find you, to find resources, to help them, um, begin to become more comfortable with authoring.

April Rinne:

Yeah. So for all things, um, me in terms of, Okay. Who I am and what I do, uh, uh, I have a good name. No one else has my name. It's AprilRinne. com. That's my website where you can learn more about me. And then for all things Flux, uh, that is at FluxMindset. com. And there you have more on the superpowers and, um, articles, snippets, mindset, all of that. That's

Dave Mastronardi:

fantastic. Thank you so much for, for joining us today and sharing.

April Rinne:

Pleasure. Thank you both.

David:

Thank you for joining us in the lab. We appreciate our guests for contributing to the thoughtful discussions on the future of work. A quick nod to Padraic, our behind the scenes maestro, for making each episode possible. If you've enjoyed the ideas we've explored today and want to put them into action, check out our companion newsletter at labs. newrulesforwork. com for the practical activities and additional resources. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and leave a review on your favorite podcast platform. Your feedback is the catalyst for our ongoing journey into the future of work. Thank you once again for joining us. We'll see you next time in the lab.

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