Future-proof yourself

2nd June 2013
Those of us who are serious about professional development accept that we are a “work in progress” rather than the finished article.

However, we can be forgiven for not pursuing our own skills development when times are both uncertain and changing fast, and especially when budgets are limited.

To get a steer on the kind of behaviour change we need to make, it makes sense to see what the futurologists are saying. This can give us a context for our management training decisions and tell us how we can ahead of the game.

I’m grateful to Paul Hobcraft’s innovation blog http://paul4innovating.com/ for pointing out the 2011 Institute for the Future report http://www.iftf.org/our-work/global-landscape/work/future-work-skills-2020/which has attempted to define the skills we will need to compete for jobs in 2020.

These are the themes that the report identified as drivers for the new skills we will all need;

These all make sense, and most of us are already seeing how some of these themes are affecting how we do business.

The report also identified the core skills that will help people become “adaptable lifelong learners” and thrive in the 2020 work environment. The key question is not whether you have these skills, but how good you are at each of them.

So, just for fun, mark yourself out of 10 for your ability in each of these areas;

Some of these skills need a little explanation, so here’s how the report defines each of them together with a quick guide to how our own in-the-moment skills training and coaching can help.

2020 skill name What it means Which in-the-moment skills help
Sense making Determining the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed Situational awareness, Strategic thinking
Social intelligence Connecting to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions Face to face communications, Decision making
Novel and adaptive thinking Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based Strategic thinking, Decision making
Cross-cultural competency The ability to operate in different cultural settings Face to face communications
Computational thinking Translating vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning Strategic thinking, Decision making
New media literacy Critically assessing and developing content that uses new media forms, and leveraging these media for persuasive communication Strategic thinking
Transdisciplinarity Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines Strategic thinking, Situational awareness
Design mindset The ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
Cognitive load management Discriminating and filtering information for importance, and understanding how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques Situational awareness, Decision making
Virtual collaboration The ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team Face to face communications, Decision making

If you’re looking for value for money from your professional training, or you want to take a proactive approach to business change through your people, or if you just want to future proof your own skill set, then consider those 2020 skills.

And remember, it’s not about getting a perfect score, it’s about comparing your ratings with the skills profile you and your team need to get the most from your business.


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