Permanent Beta: Lifelong Learning the Key to Employability

The-Key-to-EmployabilityWhat is “permanent beta”?

“Permanent beta is essentially a lifelong commitment to continuous personal growth” says Andy Hargadon, head of the entrepreneurship center at the University of California (as quoted by Reid Hoffman).

A negative take on permanent beta might suggest perpetual stress and uncertainty, never reaching full mastery of anything, instability and perpetual dissatisfaction. A more positive view might see this as a thrilling experiential adventure full of opportunity, unknown pleasures, healthy stretch with enough breadth and depth.

For some of us, permanent beta may be the same feeling as a roller coaster ride, ups and downs are sure to occur. Then again, you can always miss out… but then you’ll never know what you could have done, or accomplished.

Do we really have a choice if we want to be employable in the workplace of today and of the future?

If permanent beta” is the way it’s going to be, here’s my take on what will enable you to keep leaping towards your personal goals and, at the same time, what employers will be looking for from someone with a lifelong learning mindset in terms that benefit their business:

  • Future-oriented: seeing beyond the day-to-day, giving attention to the future, thinking ahead so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past; leading in thought and action
  • Time to think: debating the future, reflecting on feedback and not just ‘doing’
  • Questioning assumptions: asking the right questions, challenging accepted wisdom (’we’ve always done it like that’), being inquisitive or curious
  • Solution focused: proposing ideas because you are best placed to see what needs changing; creative experimentation; seeing failures as part of the process of finding success (failing forward)
  • Breadth of view: looking outwards as well as inwards (to your colleagues, other teams, the wider environment)
  • Balancing behaviors: between task-focused behavior and people-directed behavior; between business ethics and social responsibility
  • Renewal: reinventing yourself periodically (which means checking your goal is still the right one for you and adjusting it if necessary); being comfortable with ambiguity,  uncertainty and variety

To succeed, to meet our professional goals, we must be committed to lifelong learning.

Or, we can miss out.





For this post, YouTern thanks out friends at Learning to Leap!


Learning to Leap


David ShindlerAbout the Author: David Shindler is the author of “Learning to Leap, a Guide to Being More Employable”. An experienced coach and  people development expert, David specializes in developing and accelerating employability. He also runs the Employability Hub (a social learning community and resource center), the Learning to Leap group on LinkedInand Facebook fan page. Tweet David, or contact him via his website.


Image courtesy of Learning to Leap. Thank you!


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