Bakery Tech Tips: What's Next?

by Jeff Dearduff
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We are a society that likes to cross finish lines. Since our first steps as infants, we have been driven to get to the destination as quickly as we can. Sometimes we get there first and sometimes last, but we always seem to get there. Some people like to call it quits after they reach their short-term goals and go out a winner. Other say, “What’s next?”

In our industry and our workplaces, it is the What’s-Nexters that make the difference between operations that are stagnant and operations that flourish and are growing. After a task, job or project is completed, the What’s-Nexters are the ones wanting to know what they can do to make a positive effect on the company’s performance by taking on the next challenge. They’re the ones asking, "What’s next for my career, my company, my industry?"

When a person is asking what they can do next for their career, they usually mean, What can they do to improve their skills? It is these acquired skills that one has in their possession that not only begins to set them apart from others, but they also become the ones who push others to do their best just through sheer energy and accomplishment. Passive people can draw energy from those around them who are the What’s-Nexters. When all of this comes together, the individual and the employer wins.

An energized person might ask, "What can I do to make my company more successful?" The What’s-Nexters are usually the ones who take on the next task without questioning the workload. They take on the most challenging assignments, and they are driven to work hard and find the right answers, not just any answers. The What’s-Nexters are the ones who care about the company’s bottom line and organizational health. We have all sorts of negative references for the person who is always running up to the boss looking for the next thing to do. The bottom line is, it is this type of person that gets things done for the company.

When What’s-Nexters see a slight gap in their own workload, and they’re comfortable with their current skill set and they work for a successful operation, they are the ones who usually reach outside and look for what’s next in the industry. These people are the ones out there on the industry committees and task forces that have their own sets of tasks and priorities, and are always looking for people to engage and help cross their finish lines.

What’s-Nexters are always looking for how they can get involved with industry happenings that not only benefit their personal growth and their company’s growth, but they are extremely interested in the health of this great industry as well.

When thinking about our careers, our companies or our industry, we can contribute to being the best when we all ask that big question: "What’s next?"

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