Being a Leader in a New World of Work

A tweet caught my eye the other day

“By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist.”

I clicked on the link and ended up reading a rather long (167 pages!), fascinating paper published by the World Economic Forum earlier this year titled The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (link to the document here). It has many aspects that are important, like closing the gender gap and leveraging female talent, however the one that got my attention immediately was impact of the speed of the disruptive change on the skills required to be a productive member of the work force in the time of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The speed of advancements from the start of the industrial revolution to now has increased dramatically meaning that there is no time for long periods of adaption and skill building. Just read the book recently released by Brett King, Augmented (read more here) if you need more convincing than just looking around you when you get in the Uber your requested via your smartphone app a few minutes ago!

I have a few questions that I ponder in my business consulting solutions practice.

  • How do we prepare our future workers and innovators and leaders to work in this unpredictable world?

  • How do we plan to prepare young leaders (well any leaders really!) to lead future generations for roles that don’t exist using and developing technologies that don’t exist now?

I certainly don't believe there is a definitive answer to my questions, however it is clear to me, long, highly technical jargon filled leadership courses are not it. My thinking is we (by this I mean everyone involved in the ongoing education, coaching and mentoring of current and future leaders) need to be teaching our leaders of now and the future skills like creativity, systems thinking principles, design thinking, the importance of immediacy, the power of collaboration, adaptability & resilience. This is also inferred in the white paper published by the World Economic Forum that I mentioned at the start of this blog.

I suspect the first protest that will be heard is - how do you teach creativity? Phugh! It cannot be taught, people are either right brained or left brained, creative or logical, well that's what popular readings say. My question back is: Why is creativity in a corporate environment so scary?

So that you are not glued to you screen for hours reading my views (thank you for your time so far!) on how to tackle the skills development of current and future leaders I am going to break my thoughts and views into shorter articles over the next few weeks. looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the skills current and future leaders need to be effective in a fast paced environment.

A parting thought...

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