Because the workforce is changing so rapidly, it’s not surprising that a recent study by Oxford Economics determined that the top concern for employees today is having their position change or become obsolete. How can you minimize the danger of becoming obsolete? Start by focusing on the following competencies:
Filling the leadership gap
10,000 baby boomers are retiring each day, leaving a large leadership gap. Although organizations tend to be flatter these days, there is still a need for individuals that can inspire and persuade others and provide a vision for the organization. Think about how you can minimize the resistance to change in your staff. In addition to providing educational opportunities, you will need to provide constant communication and feedback in order to obtain buy-in for the inevitable changes ahead.
WILLINGNESS TO LEARN
The pace of technological change keeps increasing
Prior to 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every century. Currently, that rate is at about 12 months. It’s possible with the proliferation of the “internet of things”, that human knowledge could eventually double every 12 hours! We are in a change or die environment. You should aim to keep up-to-date not only with emerging technologies in your own area of expertise, but also in a broader sense. Take steps now to integrate a constant growth mindset into your personality.
The fastest growing economies are in Asia
The workplace is becoming an increasingly diverse environment. It is not enough to focus on individual personality differences with co-workers and colleagues. You must take the time to educate yourself about cultural differences. Even subtle differences in communication patterns can be extremely important in your business dealings, so take every opportunity you can to meet diverse individuals and learn about their cultures.
An increasing focus on STEM and other technical skills has lead to a neglect of “people skills”
Of course your technical skills are important. Your skill set is probably the main reason why you were hired and it’s difficult to be successful without serious depth in your discipline. But in order to advance in your career, you are going to need to collaborate with others and navigate the sometimes tricky world of organizational politics. To be an effective leader in today’s diverse and global environment, you must strengthen your interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
Big Data has become the air we breathe
According to a recent Deloitte report, “analytics is becoming both the air that we breathe – and the ocean in which we swim”. While you may not need to be a serious “number cruncher”, you will need to a basic understanding of analytics to make sound business decisions. Don’t rely on the excuse that you are “not mathematically oriented”. Take an online course or partner with someone in your office that has a natural inclination toward analytics.