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Embracing Change as a Career Advantage by Sara Wood "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs 12 February 2021 True #mtpcon, Career Development, Premium Content, product career, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 545 Product Management 2.18
· 2 minute read

Embracing Change as a Career Advantage by Sara Wood

In this November 2020 #mtpcon Digital session, Sara Wood, CEO of Kaluza and ex EVP Product of Farfetch, explained how to use change to your advantage as you progress through your career in Product.

Watch the 30-minute session in full, or read on for the highlights.

Time Moves Forward

Sara explains that time and circumstance are the most important factors in any storyyour team make-up, the market conditions and they will never be the same across any two points in time. This means that no secret trick will be the surefire formula for success. The world evolves, and how we adapt is what frames how we can succeed. She also explains that origins matter and ours are the jumping-off points that frame how we approach the world and adapt to it. For example, Sara grew up feeling like an “outsider”, which became an advantage in her life and careerit made it easier for her to adapt to the things she saw around her.

Face Fear and Change Head-On

There is so much about the human experience that is rooted in fear, which is problematic, Sara explains. Only responding to the things we fear, means we’ll never be looking forward clearly enough to anticipate and adapt.

Change can also happen within a lifetime—just think about how the energy industry and dramatically changed within a handful of decades. But change can also span generations, such as the legal and societal changes in the US that changed the way women are able to participate and lead in the workplace. “Within your own lifetime, you can adapt, change, and have an impact too,” Sara says, “regardless of where you are in life, you don’t go onto the streets with the skills that you need for anything, that’s why it’s important to adapt, if you don’t, you won’t succeed.”

Do What is Right

As leaders in organisations, we know we should be focusing on diversity and inclusion, as well as being customer-centred to positively impact business performance, but Sara says it’s also just the right thing to do. “Anyone working in technology has a responsibility to think of the impact of what we put out into the world for society as a whole,” she adds. All of us working in tech today have a responsibility to think about our impact and this means we should be leaving the world better than we found it.

Multiply Your Impact

Finally, Sara talks about impact. “I can’t remember ever joining a company that wasn’t in need of evolving in ways big and small. So what makes one company successful while others fail? There is no single blueprintthe idea of the “hockey stick curve” is just a story we tell,” says Sara.

What got you to this point is not what will take you forward, it’s a foundation. A goal as a leader is to multiply skills, knowledge, and impact. Ultimately, pushing decisions to the smallest wedges of the organisation where change is happening the fastest is how leaders can multiply their impact.

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