Operational Excellence

Staying up-to-date – a lever to success in professional services

"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. But, no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man" - unknown

If you are like most business professionals, you strive to make a difference in your current professional occupation You look at the future and see yourself on a higher step of the ladder? 


You can find long lists of steps that might influence such a mission forward. Some of the steps are one-time commitments, but those that matter, are the ones that need to be sustained throughout your career. Being up-to-date on the current trends in your industry is one of these long-term habits. This article is about the advantages of “riding on the crest of the wave” and how to build such routines. 

Staying up-to-date is a career-long commitment

Unlike what some students believe, graduating from university is not the final step of their development; just the opposite, it is the beginning. Once you have finished school and found your first job, you shouldn’t lean back for too long - you risk falling behind your peers. 

Digitalization and the fast-paced information flow make it hard to keep up, even if you are on top of your game. The opportunities to keep learning and developing after the academic years are endless and one should seek to evolve in their professional area at all times. Failing to do so, might cost you a lot on the long run. 

Therefore, education is an ongoing process that is at the heart of personal development, especially in the professional service industry. It ensures that you are competent in your profession and it serves like a security system that protects the future of the specialist and their career. 

Being up-to-date sometimes beats experience 

Being up-to-date is an easy way to stay relevant. While having many years of experience is often an important requirement for getting certain positions in a field, it has its limitations. Experience is limited to what has already taken place and thus does not capture some of the most progressive changes in an industry – true disruption. Thus, comprehending current trends and events can allow less experienced workers to increase their relevance and career opportunities.  

The value of combining being up-to-date with experience

What will make you stand out is combining your understanding of recent industry trends with solid experience. Combining these two strengths will enable you to react proactively to changes at the right time.  

Being up-to-date strengthens your professional performance: It ensures your ability to deliver relevant advice to your clients and thus accelerates your career. 

How to stay up-to-date? Four ways to get you started when time is scarce 

So how do you keep yourself up-to-date? As we all know, sources of new information are unlimited these days– you can easily have your smartphone twinkle a hundred times a day with new “breaking news” - but this is most often not the most effective approach. The key is to find a smart way to manage time and pick the right sources of knowledge. Based on our experience, one should consider the following four approaches:  

  • Research the most valuable newsletters 

Subscribe to the most influential news journals in your industry. Doing so, will likely get you up to par with most of your peers. However, to get further, always keep an eye on the references when truly relevant topics are mentioned. Understanding the details of key news can be an easy way to set you apart from the rest. 

At the same time, always consider “the power” of the algorithms that present other news recommendations. These might facilitate your browsing but are built to keep you within the same “information bubble”. Instead, explore different sources and expand your horizons.

  • Attend conferences, seminars etc. 

These can be hubs for gathering truly inspiring people from many industries. Topics are served in an easily digestible manner and the participants are open to conversations and brainstorming.

Furthermore, talking to active stakeholders in a more informal environment can be a unique source of the most recent trends, what's going on in the field (outside the web), rumors, and most importantly unfiltered opinions. 

  • Never underestimate the value of a professional networking 

Surround yourself by people. You might be “drowning in tasks” with no time for following newsletters or attending conferences, but your network might have the time. Find the people that take the time to educate themselves and make them a part of your network. 

  • Spread the intelligence 

Nourish your team and network with new information and inspire them to do the same. Often you will find that someone will come back to you after few days saying: “Hey, in a relation to what we spoke about the other day, I found an interesting example of it…” and soon value adding conversations will flourish - at least in theory.  

Zornitsa Stoyanova
Published by Zornitsa Stoyanova

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