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Our Massive Desire for Fresh Career Services and Innovative Leadership

'There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear...'

A stimulating opening song lyric, first played 50 years ago by Buffalo Springfield and written by the great Stephen Stills. (best known from Crosby, Stills, and Nash).

This song is commonly confused as an anti-war song, but in fact was written about a movement of up-and-coming innovative thinkers in 1966, who wanted their community to be unique, and saw a fresh way to stimulate the West Hollywood music, arts, and nightlife district known as The Sunset Strip. They were being held back by fear, elitists, traditions, and by the norms of the establishment. These visionaries were not just a group of hippies, as the fixed-mindset town leaders wanted the masses to believe, but they were educated, thoughtful, talented, brilliant individuals like Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson and other notables. Through challenges, perseverance, and a passion for creative entertainment, something amazing was born. And since then, Sunset Boulevard has been known as one of the most cutting edge arenas for the entertainment industry.

Our Movement

Since about 2012, there has been a global stirring inside college and university career offices to elevate their office into the broader university ecosystem; to make a scaled impact on their students; and to embrace new ways of doing business. These have not been small iterative attempts, but rather voluminous and collaborative initiatives where career services is re-imagined, often with charges from President's, Provosts, and VP's regarding mass consumer displeasure related to jobs and career readiness.

Simultaneously, a similar movement is starting inside county workforce centers and private staffing agencies--also related to consumer dissatisfaction. I recently keynoted the Colorado Workforce Center Business Services Conference on Innovation - and they are fired up for a new way of thinking.

Moreover, we've seen an explosion in the number of entrepreneurs creating technology products for the talent and career search industry; there's been a spike in unique hiring approaches by the business community; the frequency of job change is on the rise, coupled with a growing interest in people working for themselves. In essence, there's a righteous discontent with the status quo of hiring, jobs and career services.

This is a very exciting time, but not everyone is on board (and if they were, I'd be skeptical). In the last year alone I've had honest conversations with a lot of career staffers who would say there is a big temptation toward:

  • Harmony over Vision - making sure no feathers get ruffled and everyone likes you

  • The Easy Route - their best, is a neat new program for 25 people that they know their VP will love, but nothing scaled to masses that is going to systemically transform

  • Political Passivity - protecting their image instead of bravery to serve

  • Change Fear - people holding onto 30 year old methods of doing business

  • Process Constipation - staff making major decisions for their own process preferences, and not for the benefit of those they are serving

  • Lack of Creativity in Bureaucracy - well, the rules can't be changed, so we are stuck. (Hogwash! We are far from stuck! More on that later, but for now read Orbiting The Giant Hairball)

These temptations are real. I have faced every one of them. And what I have learned, is that you can't move past anything status quo in isolation. I have also learned that our toolbox is small on how to re-imagine career services, on how to be healthy and visionary leaders, and on how to be everyday innovators. But the good news is, there is a large and growing collective of great people that would like for this to change!

Welcome to the Career Leadership Collective

The goal of The Collective is to highlight the Innovative, the Extraordinary, and the Uniquely Helpful for the broad field of career services. In this inaugural month, we will feature a thought leader each business day and showcase some amazing topics. I believe you will find that The Collective is a high performing, brilliant constellation of contributors, who genuinely want to help their peers, and whom will stimulate the field beyond best practices. You might consider The Collective to be like a think tank, meets solutions group, meets lobbyists for excellence. ​

Why The Collective?

Because more thoughtful, empowered leaders and organizations around the nation will positively transform thousands of careers and lives!

And, 'It's time we, Stop, Hey, What's that sound? Everybody look what's going down!'

Jeremy Podany is an innovation, leadership, and organization growth connoisseur who has helped nearly 1,000 organizations and 500 leaders, having nearly 40 leadership roles in the last 20 years. Jeremy has enjoyed a career in higher education, has helped build five unique start-ups, and is currently the Executive Director of Ascend and The Career Center at Colorado State University, the CEO & Co-Founder of The Fairs App, the Inventor and Managing Partner of Career Tools, and the founder of The Career Leadership Collective. You can follow him on Twitter.

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