Tuesday 12 April 2022

What are your top five skills that you need to enhance to thrive?

The DeakinCo. report on the business development return on learning and development is well worth reading. You can download it here. 

As learning and development is a field I'm in daily, and have been for over a generation, some of the findings surprised me. This from the report perhaps surprised me the most:

Adaptability and flexibility, yep, customer service, yes yet what about the employee, customer/client, and overall stakeholders experience. Customer service is a 20th century concept now seen as the minimum requirement.

I get the other three from the report, yet are they really the top five skills gap?

In my own view the top skill is ability and willingness to have and host human being centred conversations. The following are essential for such conversations:

What are your top five skills that you need to enhance to thrive?

I 100% agree with the axiom employ people for their attitude and teach them the skills. My questions are what skills?, what is the context? and what are your cultural needs dictating?

I posted the following here on this blog in August 2019. It's all still relevant to understanding essential skills for thriving in the 21st century.

This is the new world of work as I see it.

My belief is that as machines take on more and more of the algorithmic work - the simple, routine and repetitive, the more opportunity we humans have to be remarkable and to do work that is meaningful to us and highly valuable to other people.

In a wonderful book Technology vs Humanity (see my review of this book here) Gerd Leonhard refers to this as andorithms "those qualities that makes us human" have more meaning than algorithms.

Embracing this in your own best way is a key to every human's happiest future.

Each of us needs to decide what skills we need to thrive in this new world. There are many to choose from.

Here's some from Seth Godin. Original post of his

"Discipline, rigor, patience, self-control, dignity, respect, knowledge, curiosity, wisdom, ethics, honor, empathy, resilience, honesty, long-term, possibility, bravery, kindness and awareness.

All of these are real skills, soft skills, learnable skills.

But if they’re skills, that means that they are decisions. A choice we get to make. Even if it’s not easy or satisfying in the short term.

These skills are in short supply sometimes, which makes them even more valuable."

I liked this blog post from Mark Hodgson about new world of work skills. Here's Mark's list:

Influence, Communication, Creativity, Agility, Resilience, Proactivity, Teachability, Curiosity, Empathy, Collaboration, Vulnerability, Humour, Humanity, Self-leadership.

In his wonderful book Metaskills Marty Neumeier says that the following are the 5 most valuable skills you will need to thrive in the new world of work. More about Marty's book here.

In another wonderful book (learn more about it here) Geoff Colvin suggests the following as the 5 most valuable skills of the 21st century: empathizing, collaborating, creating, leading and building relationships.

What are your top five skills that you need to enhance to thrive?

Bonus seven significant actions you can take to further enhance the skills you have chosen

1) Eliminate performance appraisals

Humans beings don't want to be appraised. We want to be appreciated.
When we feel appreciated we become more accountable and better performance follows.

2) Have candid, convivial, compassionate, conscious and compelling conversations about performance with each other that are integral to daily work.

3) Realising management is about PPPPSS's (policies, procedures, practices, processes, systems and structures, see also below on One More Thing)

My clients ask the following question several times a day about PPPPSS's - Does this make it simple for people to bring their best to their work? If the answer is no changes are made. This is every day innovation at its best. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify while heeding Albert Einstein's great advice "Everything should be a simple as possible, yet no simpler."

All other management is dead for my clients. The days of planning, organising and controlling people are over, finito, expired.

4) Learning and development is for everyone not a select few

There is no war on talent. That idea is BS. Learning opportunities are everywhere and for everyone. My clients are taking all opportunities and ensuring that anything from outside (including my work!) is tailored and integrated.

My clients also embrace the fact that learning opportunities don't cease when times are tough. For my clients learning and development is not a discretionary investment when times are good, rather an ongoing commitment to ensure the business thrives in good times and the not so good times.

5) Leadership development is for everyone too

Self-leadership is everyone's business. My clients know intimately that the only real test of leadership is whether or not more people are leading.

6) Profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business

Purpose driven organisations are the present and the future. My clients know their why and are pursuing it with passion.

7) The future of business is 100% human. 

B2B or B2C are buzz words. What really matters, and no matter how great technology becomes, is human to human.

Need help with one or more of these? Please give me a call.

One more thing. Please stop seeing and treating people as resources, assets, or capital

Human beings are not resources, assets or capital. Please stop treating them as such!

You have probably heard the talk about humans being your most valuable resources or assets.  Human capital is also a commonly used expression, sadly in my view.

You might even be using this kind of talk. Stop please.

Here’s what I feel:

I think such talk is trash.

Referring to human beings as resources, assets or capital is arguably a clever analogy or metaphor.  For me it demeans human beings, for beings we are.  And not just any old being that can be labeled. Every one of one-of-a-human being.  

Some research suggests 100 billion people have walked the earth.  Get this - there has never been a duplicate.  Everyone is a one-of-a-kind.  Therefore to label people and treat them the same misses the point and has dreadful consequences.

Your purpose as a leader, assuming you’re a real leader, is to inspire people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that unique being each of us is) to everything they do.

And you will need some serious 21st century management skills.  Leadership falters without management and usually badly.

Management is the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that unique being each of us is, I am repeating this deliberately) to everything they do.

Get it?  Leadership is about people and inspiration.  Management is about processes which policies, practices, procedures, and systems and structures.

The key role of great leadership (supported by great management) is talent optimisation i.e. inspiring people to discover their unique talents or gifts as as I prefer essence (unique personal wisdom) song or music. You might say voice, element, nature or even quiddity. Other wonderful descriptors are bliss and ikiagi.

Carefully consider this great paradox - give people massive freedom to do their own thing within very clearly defined boundaries.  Of course boundaries is the stuff of management.

Our world needs great leaders and managers more than ever. If not you, then who?

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