Three Skills American Workers Need Today
The business world is constantly changing and now it’s changing at an accelerated speed. American workers no longer have decades to adapt to new technologies or business advancements. People need to be able to adapt — and adapt quickly — if they want to thrive in the business world and not fall behind or become obsolete. The idea that you can go to college and receive a two-year or four-year degree and then be equipped to work at a job for the next 30 years is not true anymore.
Whether you’re a new graduate or have already been in the workforce for 10 years or 40 years. Here are the three traits workers should possess to help them quickly adapt to changes in business and set themselves apart as a leader in the workplace.
1. Embrace a lifelong passion for learning. We no longer live during a time where it’s beneficial to stock up a bunch of knowledge and resources and be set for your career. What you know today could be obsolete tomorrow or the job you perform now may be taken over by a computer system. This is why it’s imperative to embrace learning as a means to adapt to a shifting marketplace. “When you have an accelerated pace of change, the single most competitive advantage is to be a lifelong learner.
Part of being a lifelong learner means being connected to the flow of the world. That is what digital globalization is all about During the Middle Ages, it was wise to build a town near a river, because the river provided transportation, food, energy and ideas. It’s just as important today to be connected to the pulse of the world by surrounding yourself with innovative people, who have a global perspective as well as employees, who are able to take advantage of a changing marketplace.
The climate of globalization has changed. The world is no longer just interconnected; it is now interdependent. Lastly, the climate of technology has changed. People are adapting to a world with cloud computing, artificial intelligence and big data. These changes have created a business environment where you can analyze, optimize, prophesize, customize and digitize anything.” In fact, if your business is not taking advantage of modern business practices, then your company will be at a real disadvantage.
For instance, AT&T partnered with Udacity, which is an online educational platform, in order to have the means to update the skills of its workforce. It offers employees roughly $8,000 per year to take courses on topics like Web page design or big data analytics. The message this sends to staff is that you can be a lifelong employee at AT&T only if you are a lifelong learner, says Friedman. By encouraging its staff members to embrace learning and grow their skills, AT&T is equipping the company with the tools it needs to remain a powerhouse in the industry.
2. Boost creativity by understanding the importance of pausing. Sometimes the best way to increase your creativity and produce a better product is to pause. Machines when they’re put on pause cease productivity, but humans when they’re put on pause begin a different kind of productivity, When you press the pause button on a computer, it stops. But when you press the pause button on a human being, it starts. It starts to rethink, reimagine, reflect.”
This philosophy is a cornerstone of the health and wellness movement. It explains why it’s so beneficial for American workers to have balance in their lives. The human mind needs periods of downtime in order to generate new ideas, solve problems and imagine the next big thing. When your creativity is blocked at work, one of the best responses is to head outside for some fresh air and take a walk. It may seem counterproductive, but changing your scenery is often the best way to jumpstart your creative process.
3. Focus on developing soft skills. The next generation of workers cannot ignore developing soft business skills, such as the ability to give and receive feedback, work collaboratively, use emotional intelligence, manage time, and be resourceful. It’s these self-developed skills that will catapult you into leadership positions. Machines are getting smarter and will continue to take over certain aspects of business. But interpersonal skills and understanding how to connect disconnected people is something that machines cannot take over. It’s also a skill that is sorely missing in the workplace today. Business leaders are looking for employees, “who know how to dress up, show up, sit up, learn up and, occasionally, shut up in order to do their job properly.
One of the first parts of a resume that business leaders evaluate is whether applicants were in clubs like 4H or Future Farmers of America or were an Eagle Scout, volunteers at nonprofit agencies, because they find that people with that type of background are more likely to have the work ethic and soft skills that are needed in the workplace. They are also someone who will likely be able to grow and adapt with the business.
The best advice for American workers is to continue to make learning a priority. Constantly upgrade your skills and keep your finger on the pulse of the world, because this will help you adapt to any changes in the business that affect you. Remember that sometimes the best way to increase your creativity is to pause. You can go for a walk, meditate or find another way to give your mind the breathing room it requires to reflect, think differently and be imaginative. Lastly, take time to develop interpersonal and communication skills. This means talking with people face to face and putting away those electronic devices. By embracing these three traits, you will be equipped to help lead your company into the future
Ideas from Mr. Thomas Friedman, Famed Economist
E. Bishop III, The Money Connection.Com
“Following The Money People”