Multistage Career for Modern Leaders

Andrea Rubik
5 min readMay 6, 2024

For the first time in history, there are four to five generations working together. People live longer than ever before, prompting leaders to align themselves with these new realities of long(er) careers. A longer career means some seismic shifts reshape modern leaders: the development of technology, population aging, and the multigenerational workforce.

We’re living in a time of polycrisis. Climate change. Ongoing conflicts around the globe. Economic uncertainty. The issues of the moment make for a world that feels increasingly unstable. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, yet therein lies an extraordinary opportunity for leaders to shine by effecting positive change.

Moreover, we are living in a time of unprecedented change and opportunity. Artificial intelligence is already profoundly impacting the world, transforming products, accelerating scientific research, improving healthcare, and changing the creative landscape.

The nexus between leadership and business growth is more critical than ever, especially in the face of the multifaceted challenges looming ahead. Embracing this reality requires a proactive approach that delves into innovative techniques, frameworks, and models tailored to our businesses.

The New Leadership Mandate

Transferable skills will get you there: You have an incredible opportunity to reinvent yourself at any moment, shaping the future according to projects, goals, or aspirations.

Twenty years ago, it was common for leaders to remain fixed in a singular role throughout their careers. Today, the concept of a linear career path is becoming obsolete. The long career isn’t just a hypothesis; it’s a reality that necessitates adaptability in every aspect of professional life. Leaders are expected to adopt multiple roles — from perception shapers and experience orchestrators to growth architects. This flexibility is crucial not only for personal growth but also for staying relevant in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Multistage careers thrive on diversity. They are the shapeshifters of the modern business world, fostering adapting skills and roles to meet the market’s ever-changing demands. In this new era, a marketer might start as a content creator, evolve into a brand strategist, and pivot to leading innovation in product development. The key to thriving in this environment is the ability to transfer skills across different roles and industries, ensuring that each transition is seamless and purpose-driven.

The Importance of Non-linear Collaboration

Non-linear collaboration is the future: Leaders with multistage careers are empowered to navigate projects and jobs, jumping from one to another with purpose and direction, adapt and manage change.

The concept of non-linear collaboration is integral to the success of multistage careers. Unlike the traditional linear career paths, where steps are predictably followed one after the other, non-linear careers thrive on flexibility and adaptability. This approach allows leaders to jump from project to project not just out of necessity but to strategically position themselves at the forefront of innovation and managing change.

In this context, marketing becomes the glue that holds the business together, viewed from the customer’s perspective. Every employee is imbued with the marketing ethos, whether in design, production, or customer service. This integrated approach ensures that every part of the organization resonates with the voice of the customer, thereby building a more cohesive and responsive business model.

Leadership for Organizational Resilience

Go for growth: The connection between leadership and business growth desperately needs strengthening if businesses will survive the turbulent times ahead. Leadership is more conscious and more distributed than before.

In a world dominated by rapid changes and uncertainties, leaders’ roles extend beyond traditional boundaries. It is no longer just about promoting products or services; it’s about embedding marketing into the fabric of the business strategy. This integrated approach enhances visibility across different market segments and fosters organizational resilience.

Leaders can drive sustainable growth by understanding and embracing each stage’s unique challenges and opportunities of multistage careers. This requires a deliberate and strategic approach to work, where integrative thinking and an awareness of the multistage nature of modern careers are paramount. It’s about recognizing that the journey may only sometimes follow a straight path but that each twist and turn offers growth and innovation opportunities.

Diversify Leadership to Futureproof Success

As leaders, we must embrace a broader vision of our roles within organizations. We are not merely specialists in a single function; we are architects of growth, innovation, and customer engagement across all stages of our careers. Our ability to integrate diverse skills and perspectives makes us uniquely capable of driving sustainable growth in a fast-changing world.

This transformation within the marketing profession mirrors the broader changes in our world. It fosters inclusivity, harnessing the unique advantages of each generational perspective to create more comprehensive and effective marketing strategies. By understanding and leveraging the full spectrum of today’s market needs, multistage marketers contribute to their organizations’ success and drive the industry forward, making it more robust, adaptable, and forward-thinking.

The polycrisis can feel overwhelming. However, these problems offer companies an opportunity to step in and make a positive impact. It challenges us to rethink our roles, our skills, and our approaches to our careers. Marketing leaders, with their dynamic capabilities and strategic vision, are perfectly poised to answer this call, leading the charge in shaping the future of marketing. As we continue to navigate this new landscape, let us seize the opportunity to reinvent marketing as a discipline that responds to change and actively drives it, ensuring a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable future for all.

Multistage Careers and Modern Leaders

As we step into the future, the convergence of a multigenerational workforce in the context of long(er) careers is not just a challenge but an opportunity. Leaders, with their diverse roles and multistage careers, are uniquely positioned to harness this potential. They are not merely participants in the changing world; they are actively shaping it, ensuring that the organization continues to be a dynamic engine of growth and innovation.

By embracing the multistage career philosophy, leaders are prepared not just to adapt to the inevitable changes but to lead them, crafting a future that values adaptability, inclusivity, and the profound interconnectedness of our professional lives. The transformation is here, and it is being led by those ready to reinvent themselves time and again in the pursuit of impact and success in long(er) careers.

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Andrea Rubik

Marketing Leader | Co-Founder at Resyfy | President of Women in Digital Switzerland