Future-proof Capabilities

Couple of weeks back, I had a lunch date with my ex-colleague’s daughter. Post her masters, she was working with a mid-sized organization. She was enjoying her work and doing very well.

Full of energy and ambition, she asked, “aunty, what skills should I pick up – ones that will help me through my career? Should I take any additional courses? My organization supports continuous education. What would you recommend?”

The world is changing faster than ever. There are times when I don’t envy folks joining the workforce today. I have often wondered, “what capabilities would hold people in good stead as they progress in long career?

While the knowledge and skills would continue to change over the years, few foundational capabilities are crucial, here’s are the five I believe will make the mark:

  • Learning agility – rooted in curiosity, learning agility is the speed with which we learn new and unconnected things. As AI and robots continue to expand, jobs will be reinvented, including super specialized professions like medicine. For example, if AI takes care of basic healthcare, doctors must move on to difficult and complex diseases. If security moves to drone-based surveillance, people have to learn drone operations and associated analytics.
  • Resilience – with industries transforming, reducing organization longevity, reinvention of jobs, geopolitical upheavals, people will be expected to continuously reinvent their careers, not once or twice, but several times in their career. That demands resilience – to constantly reinvent self.
  • Empathy – the ability to understand others, their point of view and needs. In the world of machines and AI, this is likely to be a key differentiator for human beings. And even fundamental to the way work.
  • Critical thinking – the ability to think clearly and logically, question deeply to resolve challenging conundrums.
  • Moral compass – that helps judge the right from wrong, ability to consider the long and short term, intended and unintended consequences before making decisions.

Would you like to add any other foundational capability for future? Please share.

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