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How to future proof your career


”Personal resilience is also correlated with persistence; taking ownership and seeing difficult tasks through to completion.”

Most of us experienced some kind of disruption in 2020 and as we return to workplaces in 2021, it’s an opportunity as individuals and leaders to step back and think about the skills required for our professional development, and how we go about developing them in our teams. 


How do I future proof my career?


This question is often asked by members of our early talent community when they apply for internships, traineeships or roles within the ANZ Graduate program and when they think longer term about their careers.   


As we move into our post pandemic careers, the skills we have developed over the past 12 months can help set us up for success for years to come.  


Here I outline five key areas of focus along with some tips, which may be helpful to develop our careers.  


Relationship building and networking


If we have learnt anything from the COVID-19 lockdown, it is how important relationships are; the importance of connecting. When we work remotely, we miss opportunities to learn by osmosis.


As we transition back into workplaces, we are reminded of the value of incidental conversations that can happen over the desk or when we pass each other in the kitchen. The importance of relationships and connection will continue to be important.


Professional development:


You can develop these skills by:

·         challenging yourself to learn how to adapt your communication style for your audience;

·         having an interest in people and taking time to understand their perspectives by asking curious questions; and

·         challenging yourself to build new relationships both within your field and with people from different backgrounds to your own.





In 2020, personal resilience helped us to face challenges in our daily work and personal lives including responding to market conditions, increased workloads that came from additional and changing customer needs, and the personal challenges of managing carer commitments while working.


Think of resilience as how quickly you bounce back when something challenging happens, and how you overcome setbacks. Personal resilience is also correlated with persistence; taking ownership and seeing difficult tasks through to completion.


Professional development:


There are a number of tactics we can all take to develop personal resilience, one of which is approaching self-care as a discipline. Activities like downtime, exercise and meditation should be non-negotiable in the knowledge that being deliberate about having a rich personal life outside of work - for instance by regularly taking annual leave - helps us to be better problem solvers, relationship builders and improves our overall ability to manage challenging situations.




They say curiosity killed the cat. I’m not sure I agree. I think over the last year, the cat would have found new sources of food and a comfortable place to live and raise its kittens.


In 2021 curious minds will change the world.


At ANZ we look for people who are curious as they’re more likely to seek out diverse views and data when solving customer problems.


Developing a curious mindset helps us challenge ourselves and others to try new and better ways to achieve goals, and to think about why things are the way they are.


Professional development:


Curiosity can be developed by challenging yourself to look at creative ways to look at and solve problems. Be proactive by asking for feedback from colleagues and customers and be open to learning from failure. One of the best ways to develop curiosity is by developing the habit of asking questions like “tell me more about that” and “why do you think that happens?”


Growth mindset and continuous learning


At ANZ, we believe that cultivating a growth mindset helps us to learn, grow and adapt. 


This concept, founded by Professor Carol Dweck, encourages us to create a safe environment to experiment with new ideas and to understand everyone can grow with purposeful effort. 


What we learned in 2020, was that the people who were most successful were those who were intentional about actively listening, learning and adapting to the challenges presented.


A strong growth mindset helps us to be willing to see things differently and keep our mind open as well as our eye out for new ways to solve problems.



Professional development:


You can cultivate a growth mindset by:

·         challenging yourself to focus on positive efforts, not just outcomes;

·         looking at setbacks and failures as opportunities to learn; and celebrating and learning from the success of others.


Strong values starting with integrity


We consider strong values as a “ticket to play” in our organisation.  Our values influence our actions which then lead to stronger trusted relationships and therefore better results. We need employees who always act with integrity. That means being honest and fair and making thoughtful, balanced decisions.


We look for people who will do what’s right and act with courage.



Professional development:


You can develop strong values yourself by learning how to take a systematic approach to making decisions to ensure all possible aspects are considered and by ensuring you place importance on delivering on commitments and persisting when completing tasks.


Taking time to reflect on our daily actions, learning from both our successes and failures, and good planning helps to deliver on our purpose and strategy and continue to be values driven in our work.



Not sure where to start?


Ask your colleagues and clients for feedback!


When we set development goals with our early talent, we encourage individuals to focus on 1-3 goals at a time over 1-3 months at a time depending on the development goal.


Focus on leveraging your key areas of strength and improving on your key areas of development. At the end of the day, it’s all about being proactive and accountable for your future.


This piece has been adapted from an original interview in Lifestyle (Herald Sun).



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