Monday, November 12, 2012

Top 5 to 7 Skills for Next 10 Years


 Recently, while thinking about how specifically to develop, I reached out to a few smart people with whom I feel an “empathic embrace” (more on these folks soon) to ask:
  • What 5 to 7 skills do you think are critical to staying gainfully, creatively, proactively and interestingly employed over the next 10 years?
The summary below is a creation of the main clusters from our conversation and other sources including the recent "e.g. Conference".

Move Like Quicksilver
One cluster of skills required for the next 10 years addresses the challenges of both rapid business change and  “career” compression from one long continuous one to a series of “quicksilver work”*.  In this dynamic situation, you need several components:
  •  Skills: Continuously refresh technical,  professional and soft skills
  • Attitudes: Remain open to new experience, new technology, new people, new opportunities such as being willing to think that computer programming is as essential to everyday worklife as English
  • Approach: the ability to identify opportunities (transitions) and the ownership, true grit and calculated risk taking of an entrepreneur  to finish what you start
*“Generation Flux”  http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/162/generation-flux-future-of-business

The Embrace of Soft Skills
Another cluster of “soft” skills addresses the challenges we face of Thomas Friedman’s “flat world” where we need to create ties of loyalty or an “empathic embrace”** among more different people (languages, cultures, generations, employment type, geo, platforms) to deliver results. In this diverging view important skills include:
  • The ability to help people focus on their common bonds through diplomacy, conflict management and negotiation helps create ties.
  • Whether you call it “thick skin” or something else, the ability to not be easily offended or to “self-regulate” (i.e. – not say things that are later regretted)  is critical too enabling your own and others’ maximum performance and to creating and maintaining ties. 
  • The ability to “say it well” for a broad audience in written, verbal, interpersonal communication and presentation modes that help people understand how they fit.
Critical Soft Skills
Emotional intelligence competencies, one set of soft skills, are so critical that they are 80% to 90% percent of the predictors of success for executives. The most important emotional intelligence competencies by a ratio of 2:1 are:
  • Internal standards of performance and excellence
  • Ability to influence and persuade
  • The ability to recognize patterns in human interaction**
** Daniel Goleman Lecture at Google (1 hr):

These clusters give me a better idea where to focus my development energy as well as how I might change hiring criteria and talent development and management plans.

Now, how about you?
  • What 5 to 7 skills do you think are critical to staying gainfully, creatively, proactively and interestingly employed over the next 10 years?
I' d love to read your thoughts.  Jennifer

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