Published Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011

As bleak as the prospect of a long winter might be, at least you can be sure that it’s going to give way to spring.

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Taking tech changes into your own hand.

It’s a shame you can’t be as certain about an economic rebound, a resurgence in hiring or even whether your job or employer will be secure in the coming year.

Yet there are changes and trends you can be confident will happen in the near future, and they can be used to design career strategies to weather even the most prolonged economic chill, according to technology trends consultant Daniel Burrus, author of Flash Foresight.(To read an excerpt from the book,click here.)

“A career strategy based on uncertainty has high risk. When the level of uncertainty is high, if you put off making decisions … it can keep you from moving forward both personally and organizationally,” he said in an interview.

“It has been never more important to ask what we can know for certain, and plan from there,” said Mr. Burrus, who is chief executiveofficer of Burrus Research Associates Inc. in Hartland, Wis.

Stay current or die

Over the next five years, technology will transform how we sell, train, collaborate, and market products and services, he said.

If your company is not transforming itself, he said, you run the risk of working for a Blockbuster Video, an Eastman Kodak or any of a long list of businesses that were doing great but stuck too much to their existing patterns rather than building in new directions based on clear trends.

“The important distinction is that most companies say they are transforming themselves when they are just making adjustments and continuing to do what they already do,” Mr. Burrus said.

“To be a leader and a winner you need to be willing to lead a transformation.”

The shift away from desktops or laptops to smartphones or tablets as peoples’ primary computers, for example, is a huge change, especially when combined with mobility that allows their use anywhere.

More importantly, it means there will be a bigger market for computer applications, not only for sales and customer support but also for more traditional jobs. For example, maintenance workers could go to a job with a tablet and tap into an inventory of parts available and complete all the paper work all on the same screen.

If your employer isn’t up-to-date on technological shifts, you might want to look around to see which other companies are more tuned in to the trends, Mr. Burrus advised.

“Companies of any size and age can wake up to the opportunity of the future. It’s not about the age of leadership or the employees,” he added. “You’re young if you see opportunity.”

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