“Permanent beta is essentially a lifelong commitment to continuous personal growth”

It’s a quote from Andy Hargadon, head of the entrepreneurship centre at the University of California, in a book by Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) and Ben Casnocha.  

What does being in a state of permanent beta feel like to you?

Taking a negative view, permanent beta suggests perpetual stress and uncertainty, never reaching full mastery of anything, instability and perpetual dissatisfaction.  Taking a positive view and this is a thrilling experiential adventure, full of opportunity, unknown pleasures, healthy stretch with enough breadth and depth.

For some of us, that’s the competing experience of a theme park ride at Alton Towers.  Then again, you can always give it a miss… but then you’ll never know.  Do we have a choice if we want to be employable in the workplace of today and of the future?

Here’s my take on what will enable you to keep leaping towards your personal goals if permanent beta is the way it’s going to be.  You need to address what employers look for from a lifelong learning mindset that benefits their business.

  1. 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.
  2. Time to think – debating the future, reflecting on feedback and not just ‘doing’.
  3. Questioning assumptions – asking the right questions, challenging accepted wisdom (’we’ve always done it like that’), being inquisitive or curious
  4. 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).
  5. Breadth of view – looking outwards as well as inwards (to your colleagues, other teams, the wider environment).
  6. Balancing behaviours – between task-focused behaviour and people-directed behaviour, between business ethics and social responsibility.
  7. Renewal – reinventing yourself on occasions (which means checking your goal is still the right one for you and adjusting it if necessary), being comfortable with ambiguity, uncertainty and variety.

Which ones would you tick?  Which ones do you need to tick? What would you add?