This is part 1 of the article “Future skills for a life long competitive advantage”. Click here to go back to the full article

These skills are needed in a VUCA world:

 A skill is ‘the ability to do something well, or expertise’.

 A to Z of skills

  •  Adaptability – being able to adjust to new conditions, and embrace ambiguity.

  •  Adaptive thinking – improved cognitive ability with more information, and being an active learner.

  •  Agility – perpetual re-learning and adapting to unpredictable consequences of disruption. Learning skills and mindsets on demand and putting aside ones that are no longer required.

  •  Blockchain – being able to verify credentials securely or transfer information in an encrypted form.

  • Collaboration – the ability to work with other people in a team, both face-to-face and virtually to create solutions.

  • Coding – learning the language of computers, and keeping up with the fast pace of change, learning each new coding language.

  • Communication – imparting or exchanging information by speaking or writing; the ability to present your argument persuasively, inspiring others with passion, capturing the highlights of what you want to say, promoting yourself or a product/service.

  • Connected thinking – the ability to connect seemingly disparate information/knowledge and put it together to be innovative and creative to solve future problems.

  • Cognitive load management – the ability to discriminate and filter information for importance.

  • Creativity and imagination – coming up with original solutions, and being inquisitive and thinking outside the box “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. Einstein.

  • Critical thinking – “the ability to examine the assumptions underlying an argument and the capacity to consider competing perspectives without rushing to judgement” i.e. analysing situations, assessing risks, considering multiple solutions and making sound robust decisions using logic and reasoning. Assessing and evaluating the source and content of information, and updating knowledge faster than ever before. Assessing information from many sources through a ‘critical lens’.

  • Cross cultural competency – diversity savvy from questioning the assumptions that wisdom can be found in unexpected voices, and search for novel information and perspectives.

  • Customer service – putting client/customer satisfaction at the heart of what you do and how you do it.

  • Database management – being able to understand, manage and fix a database.  

  • Data analytics/visualisation - being able to understand, track and measure data, and help others to understand what it means.  

  • Digitally savvy – comfortable in the digital age, using on-line platforms etc.  

  • Research by Cedefop, The European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Insights into skill shortages and skill mismatch 2018) shows that Europe is ill-prepared for a new digitalised economic reality. 85% of EU jobs will need at least a basic digital skills level and the existing skills of the EU’s workforce falls one fifth short of what is needed for workers to carry out their jobs at their highest productivity level.   

  • Flexibility – willingness to change or compromise.  

  • Focus – the ability to stay focused on a task and on track, and not get distracted.  

  • Initiative – a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial approach – seeking out new opportunities, ideas and strategies for improvement.  

  • Insight mining – the ability to identify useful insights from a large volume of information which can help make decisions and solve problems.  

  • ‘Joining the dots’ – making sense of information and synthesising insights to create leaps in thinking.   

  • Leadership – leading a group of people or an organisation.  

  • Management – the process of dealing with people.   

  • Mental elasticity and complex problem solving - mental flexibility to think ‘outside of the box’, see the big picture and rearrange things to find a solution.  

  • Organisation – being structured, efficient and able to prioritise.  

  • Sense-making – the ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.  

  • ‘SMAC’ (social, mobile, analytics, Cloud) – learning these skills and platforms, born of the digital age.  

  • Troubleshooting – staying calm and being able to think logically and critically about a problem and taking logical sequential steps to solve it.  

These qualities are needed in a VUCA world:

Qualities differentiate human beings from robots, and are essential for coping in a VUCA world. A quality is ‘a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone’.

A to Z of qualities

  • Common sense – having good sense and sound judgement in practical matters.  

  • Curiosity – strong desire to know or learn something.  

  • Empathy – the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see a situation through their eyes and to express yourself so that they know that you do.  

  • Perseverance – persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  

  • Positivity – being optimistic in attitude.  

  • Resilience – the ability to recover from setbacks, and keep adapting, embracing change and giving everything a go.  

  • Self-aware – having conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings.

These attitudes are needed in a VUCA world:  

Possessing the right attitude is crucial for success in a VUCA world. An attitude is ‘a settled way of thinking or feeling about something.’  

A to Z of attitudes  

  • ‘Can do’ – confident and willing to deal with problems and new tasks.  

  • Excellence mindset – aspiring to high quality outcomes, to an excellent standard better than competitors.  

  • Growth mindset - get smarter through hard work, the use of effective strategies, and help from others when needed.  

  • Open mindedness – willingness to listen to and consider other people’s viewpoints.  

  • Relentless learning or learnability – an individual’s desire and ability to grow and adapt, and develop their skill set, is essential to maintain their employability. Higher learnability directly correlates with career success.

This is part 1 of the article “Future skills for a life long competitive advantage”. Click here to go back to the full article

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