Reid Hoffman – The Startup of You

To succeed professionally in today’s world, the author (co-founder of LinkedIn) asserts that we need to manage our careers using the entrepreneurial mindset and the following strategies:

1) Develop competitive advantage, which includes the interplay of three factors – assets, aspirations & market realities

a) Assets are what you have now and include soft assets (e.g. knowledge base, skills, network, personal brand etc..) and hard assets (e.g. cash, computer, physical possessions etc..).

b) Aspirations capture your deepest goals, passion and vision for the future.

c) Market realities reflect the supply and demand of what you offer the market place relative to competition

2) Formulate plan ABZ

a) Plan A is what you are currently doing (day job) and the implementation of your competitive advantage. This plan gets tweaked iteratively as needed.

b) Plan B is what you pivot to when you need to change either your goal or route to get there. This plan often gets activated when Plan A is no longer viable due to an inflection point, that requires a change in skills or environment. The pivot will ideally move to an adjacent niche, something different but related to what you are already doing. Cultivate plan B on the side, while still focused on plan A.

c) Plan Z is the fall back position: the lifeboat in case plan A and B fail. Invoking plan Z should allow you to retreat, regroup and develop a new plan A.

3) Build a powerful professional network by cultivating real and lasting relationships

World class professionals build networks to help them navigate the world. The first rule of building a genuine relationship is to provide value to the other person, without needing a return favor. Just like personal relationships, professional ones should be cultivated by regular focus and attention or they fade away and die.

Invest in yourself, invest in your network and invest in the society. These three investments will give you the best shot at reaching your highest professional potential.

4) Pursue breakout opportunities by being resourceful, tapping in to the professional network and taking massive action

5) Take intelligent (and acceptable) risks as you pursue professional opportunities. Trying to avoid risks is not possible. If you don’t find risk, it will find you. Be proactive and take calculated risks.

6) As you navigate professional challenges, tap network intelligence from people you know for valuable information, advice and insights to make better career decisions. How you gather, manage and use information will ultimately determine whether you win or lose

It is a fantastic book and a must read. You can find more information about the book here.