Why We All Need to Get Good at “Next”

Next …it’s the sign of the times.

Seeking next is the new state of normal for most of us in our careers and almost all of us in our businesses.

We all need to get good at next.

No business can afford to run in place. Yesterday’s great strategy is tomorrow’s business school case on what went wrong or how management missed a market shift.

News flash, every market is shifting.

Every business should be pursuing next. Most business struggle with this. It’s hard to change old ways and old thinking. Nonetheless, we need to help our firms succeed at next.

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The pursuit of next in your career is a bit more challenging. It’s personal and it is emotional.

Too many people jump to next for the wrong reasons. A bad boss might be a reason to leave a firm, but a bad boss in an otherwise good company merits a pause and a strategy rethink.

If you must move, moving to a competitor is in my opinion a lousy next in your career. It debases what you worked for at the last firm. If you believe in the industry’s prospects, think about looking in the supply chain or broader ecosystem. You retain some industry equity and you broaden your view to the customers and players.

My own next has involved changing industries multiple times. It’s hard the first time. Once you crack the code that all firms and all industries have the same set of problems—just in different proportion, it becomes easier to navigate. I would not trade this approach for anything—I’ve lived multiple careers and am richer in experience and maybe a little wisdom for it.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Getting good at next involves a bit of cognitive rewiring. We don’t naturally like change. We interpret it as danger and it triggers our fight or flight responses. The necessary response is to view change as challenge and opportunity. You will win at next when it is less of a threat and more of an adventure. And yes, a great career is indeed an adventure waiting to be experienced.

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Related Post: When It Pays to Invest in Yourself







By |2017-05-17T18:56:19+00:00August 4th, 2016|Art of Managing, Leadership, Strategy|3 Comments

About the Author:

Art Petty is a coach, speaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.


  1. […] Art Petty: “Seeking next is the new state of normal for most of us in our careers and almost all of us in our businesses.” […]

  2. Michael Levitt August 10, 2016 at 6:51 am - Reply

    Great post, Art. It’s all about the process. Too many of us focus our attention on the desired end result, and not the steps to get there. If we have a strong “Next”, then the next “Next” will gain momentum. Crucial to keep our eyes and ears open during the journey, to make sure that what we thought should be “Next”, really should be the “Next.”

    Be well!

    • Art Petty August 10, 2016 at 7:27 am - Reply

      Thanks Michael! I appreciate your emphasis on the process focus. -Art

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