Your version 2.0 must have these skills to be prepared for new future of work
I am often asked to name one person who has had tremendous impact on me professionally. It’s hard to name one person because different people have different impact during different stages of one’s life. So here goes my answer… Jack Welch for his maniacal focus on people and leadership development; Steve Jobs for his single-minded focus on the consumer; and Jeff Bezos for continuously moving into new businesses. When you look at these three areas – people and leadership, focus on the consumer, and taking over radical new areas of business, the endgame is about fuelling growth. And to me, this translates into a rather simple fact of life: simple is indeed harder than complex!
As complexities in technologies and organizational structures become the order of the world, it becomes critical for us to enable people that make up these organizations to figure out simple ways to navigate these rapid changes and excel at what they do. None of us know with certainty what the future of work will be like or which skills will be obsolete Vs in demand, but we can definitely be better prepared to handle the uncertainty.
Research continues to prove that the impact of technology will be more on the nature of work and less on the number of jobs. While technology and automation may eliminate some of the traditional jobs, new jobs will continue to get created. Business translators, AI ethicists, linguists… the list is long. A ‘Human–Machine’ partnership is already emerging, and success or at least readiness to thrive, will depend on four human traits.
“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing,” said Albert Einstein. Learning is not a matter of intelligence… it’s really a habit. It’s about being innovative, questioning the status quo and influencing strategy. How curious we are to learn, and our willingness to experiment with newer ways of doing things will help prepare individuals and organizations for the future. Learning doesn’t happen in the classroom … it’s not about cleanly laid out materials led by instruction design. If we wait for that, we will all be irrelevant. It’s about taking the initiative, pushing ourselves in today’s knowledge-intensive world to seek that learning. Never stop seeking, never stop questioning.
Yes, you read that right. Being fluent in two languages is great. Being fluent in two ‘disciplines’ even more so. Being bilingual in the business world is the ability to combine the power of domain expertise + digital technologies. When domain and digital come together, companies, industries and individuals transform. As an organization, it means we enable our clients to transform their business with digital technologies because we have the in-depth understanding of their industry. How do we do this? By valuing bilinguals — strong domain-experts who have learnt how to harness digital. Build on both strengths, invest in learning both.
This leads me to the next trait. How do companies get more out of digital? Once you master domain and digital, are you thinking outcomes? Think of it this way. How do you transform a leading CPG company’s business? By not just having insights into retail inventory but also real-time access to those insight by deploying the right digital tools. Or, how do you help a bank onboard its clients in an hour Vs 20 days? By knowing the banking industry inside out and using digital KYC processes. Make sure ideas have business outcomes at heart.
Changing the way of working
Organizations are increasingly becoming complex. As are client challenges. And this is leading to the need for smarter org structures and a ‘team of teams’ culture… where a combination of teams with specialists and core expertise come together to work as one team with one set of goals. This is unlike traditional working models built on hierarchy. To be able to work in this kind of a fluid and agile ecosystem, adaptability will be the key. Here are some of the behavioral habits we need to embrace—humility and inclusiveness, appetite for risk, intellectual agility, speed to outcome, and ability to deal with ambiguity. Be agile and adaptable. The key to the ‘future of you’ lies within you. Unlock and unleash the power within!
(The author is Piyush Mehta, CHRO, Genpact)