According to the World Economic Forum, 50% of employees and enterprises will need to be rescaled by 2025. What that means is that very soon, in four years, many of us might likely be working in a job that doesn’t even exist yet. And as active members of the workforce, and as learning and development leaders, Where should we focus our energy to become and build future leaders as vocal share?
Technology skills are not just about being able to use applications. Although this is extremely important. It is about having a blend of skills that will help people navigate the ever-changing waters of the technology landscape. So for example, things like understanding why the technology landscape is moving so fast. So being familiar with models like technology, S curves, or hockey stick shape that technologies typically take as they gain traction in the marketplace. And then the new technology will come up in another hockey stick shape directly underneath them. And the sweet spot is understanding the point at which those two hockey sticks coincide so that you shift from one technology to another, and don’t miss that kind of change curve. Technologies are coming up, which are going to be relevant in your business, and understanding how to change and adapt to those technologies and learn them as quickly and effectively as possible to apply them in your landscape would be important.
We need curiosity for tech. And what we would need to do is encourage people to explore the different types of digital technologies and how they can enable human performance. Especially during the kind of time when the pandemic, as well as very few people, know how to use these technologies to their full capability. So we can give an example kind of the most popular technologies like Slack and Microsoft Teams, which I think we’ve all probably seen in most industries. You’ll mostly find is a lot of people are familiar with these tools, but only about 10% of people probably know how to use them to their full capability and we see lots of examples of this not just with Slack and Microsoft Teams and many organisations that, you know. The focus should be on building the technical skills that are going to benefit you in your daily workflow.
it’s really important to understand the technology landscape and just appreciate the time and the pace at which technology is shifting. The market is flooded with technology, the workplace is flooded with technology, you know, on average, I think this statistic is something like people have 75 applications on their desktop at any one time. So being able to understand which are going to help your productivity the most, which are the ones where your teams are playing most where you can gather everyone around them, and everyone can play in that same spot is going to be super important. The other thing to think about when you’re talking about the technology landscape is how it’s altering the shape of organisations as well as superior because we’re seeing the rise of agile teams, small multidisciplinary, neurodiverse groups of people brought together for small pieces of work working in short Sprint’s to deliver value to customers very, very quickly. Even if it’s not a finished product, so a minimum viable product is being put out there. The shape of those teams is very different from the traditional, more hierarchical shape of organisations. People are grappling a little bit with how to work in a dual operating environment at the moment. Do I work with Slack? And some of the technologies that developers historically have used in the small agile teams? Or am I drawn into slightly bigger, longer ways of working like traditional waterfall project management processes and ways of working?
It’s super important that they understand the landscape. So they have choices about whether they navigate and if they do how they navigate.
leaders who can foster an environment where I think there are a few characteristics that I would like to see play through and flourish. The ability to create an environment where psychological safety is intrinsic to team, and by psychological safety, which is a phrase coined by Amy Edmondson and researcher, and Harvard professors. So really thinking about how do you create an environment where people feel that they can speak up and speak out with with with clarity and with honesty and with authority, and without fear of being stood down or put down or embarrassed in front of their colleagues for sharing a view, sometimes, which may be quite controversial, but actually, that’s what you want on a team. Secondly, the ability to build shape and make these agile teams or small, multi-disciplined agile teams with strong neurodiversity and strong people from different cultures, and different backgrounds, but with different complementary skill sets to each other would be important. And then something I’m seeing arising actually which kind of spins the word leadership on its head a little bit is the rise of what I call citizen leadership. So the ability to create that team where you’ve got democratised and decentralised decision making. So this is all about a leader encouraging the power of the collective mind. Versus the leader is this seen as the source of all knowledge. Please have a look at the story of Captain David Marquette and the book called to turn the ship around. It’s a book about how he took on the submarine us submarine Santa Fe, which was the lowest performing ship in the US Navy, it was badly performing and he took it from the worst in the fleet to the most successful by using a leader model. And since his retirement, the submarine has continued to win multiple awards, and it’s had more promotions than any other submarine in the US fleet. He turned it from the worst to the highest performing team. And he did it through democratised leadership by encouraging his team to take and make decisions on behalf of the ship because they are the people working the dials, the leads, they know how that boat works, so they’re in the best place to make decisions.
Increasingly for people to be both future focused and futures ready the ability to scan the horizon, see the trends that are coming down the line, be able to appreciate how it might affect the work they do today, and then be ready to quickly change and adopt new ways of working frequently would be more important. There’s a really good piece of research by Forrester, it’s suggest that the future of work story is about customers, employees and leaders, and working together and they’ve developed this model called How to Become a peak human and there’s a really nice leadership piece actually, that sits on top of this that will help them guide leaders understand a little bit more about the environment that Forrester recommends needs to be in place to develop peak humans on your team. They talk about employees being being poised to having confidence in their own voice to express their ideas, engage in debate, and fail, without fear, which is really important that they talk about being enlightened. Employees understanding their strengths, their capabilities, their aspirations, but this would be supported by accountable leaders who are committed to developing that employees, untapped potential that’s really important. Adaptable is all about employees thriving in uncertain and ambiguous situations, but drawing energy from the challenges that they face and, and seeking out opportunities to respond with new ideas and stimulus. Finally, knowledge seeking is about people being optimistic and enthusiastic about the process of growing and acquiring new skills and expanding their intellectual capacity. forrester’s peak human model is a really great model for people to refer to when they’re looking at those human traits and skills and qualities that will be needed.
Gig economy is getting the mindset of i’m going to get the opportunity to do that and learn about it. Fundamentally it’s about build an education outside of that by learning by using my own growth mindset and curiosity. A modern learning professional is going to need to understand how to be more emotionally intelligent, how to, you know, produce, record podcasts, how to share these, how to be a great marketer, all of those things he has done will be a of part of my side gig. The great benefit has been that they’ve become part of my wider toolkit that I’ve then been able to use with an employer and say, aside from the normal things you might expect from someone in my industry, on top of that, I’ve been able to build these skills, and I’ve been able to show my work. You should have a mindset which keeps you to continue growing and continue learning and pull on from different sources. If you can pull this off, you can most certainly help to accelerate your career if you invest in those things outside.
Caroline is highlighted as one of the top 20 L&D experts and influencers to keep an eye on. Her passion is for pushing the boundaries and delivering pioneering innovation in the learning and development space.
In her current tool as Global Head, of Skills Management at Novartis skills is at the centre of the new world of work. In this role, she focuses on answering 3 big questions 1. What skills do we need? 2. What skills do we have? and 3. How do we fill the gap?
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