The world of work is on the brink of a complete transformation – and with it comes a whole range of far-reaching and ultimately game-changing implications.

One of the challenges facing workers in the financial and professional services industries and other “knowledge workers”, i.e. people who think for a living, is that IQ (academic intelligence) and EQ (emotional intelligence) alone are no longer sufficient to help them navigate the changing world of work or manage their careers as effectively as they would like. So, what’s changing and how can Career Intelligence or CQ™ help?

The Old World of Work


Broadly speaking, the “Old World Of Work” operated a bit like a giant escalator with workers joining an organisation at the bottom, and being promoted through the ranks towards a pension pot at the end of their career (and top of the escalator). Sound familiar?

Managing your career in the Old World of Work was relatively straightforward – as long as you turned up and fulfilled your role, the ability to pass exams (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) would ensure that you progressed up the escalator.


This model has become outdated as the progression of workers is being thwarted at every level of the escalator. At the top, people are living and working longer as pension pots no longer provide the lifestyle required. In the middle, ambitious managers are caught in a promotion limbo as there are fewer senior roles available. And at the bottom, Millennials are finding it harder to get on the escalator. With job security at an all-time low, employees are faced with continuous change – restructuring, mergers, and downsizings have become the new norm. Employers are turning to contingent labour to meet more of their needs, and the “Gig Economy” (where a large pool of skilled freelance workers offer their services) is growing from strength to strength.

Data shows that the average baby boomer now changes jobs 11.7 times in their career, and for Millennials the rate is as high as every two years. With such a pace of change, and increasing levels of uncertainty, something more than IQ and EQ is needed to navigate the changing work environment.

The New World of Work


With the career escalator analogy becoming increasingly redundant, it can help to perceive your work-life journey in a less linear way.

In the “New World of Work”, the single route to the top of the building is now replaced with a whole metropolis in front of you with multiple destinations. Now you can choose where you want to go and how. And crucially the only way is not up – it’s as much about the journey as it is the destination.

Choice, freedom, opportunity and possibility are words that belong to the New World of Work as many workers re-invent their careers multiple times, often doing completely unrelated things from where they first started.

I started out as a City lawyer in London, moved in-house to a US investment bank in Asia, then did a 2-year full time MBA in the US before working as a Marketing Manager in American Express and a Wealth Manager at UBS. Latterly I retrained as an Executive Coach and now run my own business helping professionals adapt to the new world of work. And I am not alone – many others have similar stories of reinvention and new possibilities to tell.

Developing Career Intelligence (CQ™)

CQ™ is the ability to shape your working life to satisfy your professional aspirations in accordance with your personal values. And crucially the ability to keep doing this throughout your working life as you change and the world continues to change around you. It is both a new mindset and skillset.

It doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing your career entirely – although it may well do – the crucial point is it puts you back in the driving seat, enabling you to take ownership of your career and make conscious choices in accordance with your own values and not someone else’s outdated definition of success.

• CQ™ is a new Mindset

The mindset shift involves thinking about your career not as something you are “in”, but as something you “run”. It is about thinking and acting more like your own CEO, with your career as the microbusiness – even if you are still employed.


• And a new Skillset

The skills involved are an ability to know how you add value and then create opportunities in the external environment to do that – either within your current organisation or elsewhere. Equally important is a knowledge of what matters to you in addition to economic survival – what do you stand for, what is your definition of success – and being able to find your place as the world of work changes around you. Having a professional brand, getting known, actively networking, continuously learning, improving and developing yourself are also important facets of CQ™.

A New Way of Managing your Career

Ultimately, as I tell my clients, there is no longer any standard definition of what career progression is – you need to know what it is for you, and then be able to notice and create opportunities to get there.

The good news is that like EQ, CQ™ is an ability that can be learned. Organisations that invest in developing the CQ™ of their employees find they become more engaged and proactive and take more ownership of their own careers. Meanwhile, individuals who increase their CQ™ feel a new sense of power and motivation as they start to focus on the things they can control and forge a more authentic and fulfilling career path for themselves.

The New World of Work is already here, what are you waiting for?

If you are interested in finding out more about how CQ™ can help you or your organisation, please email us at

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