Competências – English : FRST Falconi

THE SKILLS
OF THE FUTURE

While the future of work is based in technology, the future professional is one that improves his human characteristics – such as critical thinking, innovation, collaboration and cognitive flexibility.

Technologies like automation, robotics, virtual reality, biotechnology, 3D printing and artificial intelligence have elevated machines to unprecedented levels of work proficiency. This new era, called Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is generating great impact on the global market.

The World Economic Forum has examined this phenomenon for decades and has become appoint of reference on future skills and competencies. In their global working groups and reports such as “The Future of Jobs,” they have reached a general conclusion: people need to be prepared professionally for a new era known for continuous learning (lifelong learning), disruptions and the importance of fundamentally human abilities.

The currently evolving scenario is so great that the institution estimates that, between 2016 and 2020, 35% of the key skills will have already changed. Furthermore, it highlights that 65% of today’s kids will have significantly different jobs when they join the market – jobs that have just begun to appear, from data scientists and app developers to drone pilots.

According to its most recent research analyzing expectations of 20 economies and 12 sectors through 2022, “75 million current job posts may see humans replaced by machines, while 133 million of new roles may appear at the same time”.

In a technology-driven world, a high performance professional fulfills two roles: understanding and fostering innovation – whether through upskilling, acquiring new skills, or skill reorientation – and enhancing his human qualities in order to leverage these skills.

Amongst these newfound skills, creativity, flexibility, critical thinking, negotiation, advanced communication and emotional intelligence are of particular importance. These involve a level of emotional intelligence that machinery cannot replace and will be essential in a new working environment, both for human and human-machine interactions. By 2030, it is estimated that the demand for these qualities will increase by 26% in the USA and 22% in Europe.

Autonomous or “self-development” opportunities will be required to become and remain competitive in the market. For specialists, the responsibility does not lie only with the individual: In order to succeed in a competitive new world, companies take the initiative to design new plans to advance the abilities of their own teams.

The 10 skills of
the professional
of the future

Reality dictates change will be a constant, accelerating force. It is not enough to prepare for the current changes underway. But to account for the other changes, still unknown, that we will encounter in the future. Therefore, though the exact challenges ahead are not known, companies must be equipped to overcome uncertain situations.

In this context, the World Economic Forum highlights 10 useful skills for every high performance professional, regardless of industry, level or position. Because these skills require logical thinking and socioemotional skills, many will be interconnected – thus, improving one means improving the others.

Collaboration

This competency improves empathy which acts as a catalyst in helping teams to work faster and more effectively. By collaborating and coordinating our actions with others, we guarantee our projects the best chance of success.

Collaboration does not depend on hierarchy nor the size of the team. By prioritizing communication and understanding other’s needs, we allow troubled or unproductive interactions to be resolved organically. Armed with this knowledge, people are able to identify issues and develop new methods and tools to resolve the without external intervention.

Innovation

Artificial intelligence is already capable of creating art. However, its creativity is derived from human creativity. Connecting an organization’s innovation efforts to the market’s expressed demands is key to survival and, therefore, it is every professional’s responsibility to drive and encourage innovation.

Fostering a culture of innovation means providing a platform for problem solving and new idea creation, which delivers benefits to any form of work – particularly amid times of constant and rapid changes. In practice, this means being open to different perspectives, identifying patterns and creating original solutions. Creativity, it is worth mentioning, is innate to the human being. It needs only an environment in which it can be permitted to shine through.

Cognitive Flexibility

The capacity to think logically and make sense of problems ignites creativity while cognitive flexibility allows an individual to respond with agility to what is happening in different scenarios. The ability to leverage these skills allows one to resolve problems even without in-depth experience with specific issues.

Fundamentally, this is adaptive capacity, learning from past experiences and multiple perspectives. As this skill is improved, cognitive flexibility also enhances effective communication with different stakeholders, helping deliver the message in an appropriate way for each individual.

Leadership

A good leader must direct his efforts to identify and develop strengths and improvement opportunities for each of his employees and, by doing so, help them reach their potential. This means genuinely understanding their motivations, aligning them with the business objectives and draw plans that expand their professional ability.

Leadership should not be a bureaucratic part of a manager’s job, but an opportunity to get to know others and oneself, creating stronger, more reliable and more productive bonds in the process. This transformation is part of the new form of leadership that is expected today, a human skill that involves empathy, dialog, co-creation, coherence and transparency which goes beyond goal achievement and performance metrics.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one of the many elements which falls within the realm of socioemotional skills. Amongst the most important are: caring for others (understanding their needs and feelings), cooperation (being a person others want work with), sociability (knowing how to work and connect with others) and social perception (recognizing and understanding others’ reactions).

Communication between human beings can be full of fine details and emotions – and that can have a real impact on the success and productivity of businesses. Communicating with empathy builds relations of confidence and cooperation.

People who have a high level of emotional intelligence know how to identify and deal with their own emotional tendencies and those of friends, colleagues and clients. As a result, they are able to adapt their communication tone, gestures and general posture according to the situation to obtain the best outcome. Developing this skill (especially in leaders and managers) has the potential to positively transform behavior and results.

Judgement and decision making

This skill helps us judge the cost-benefit associated with our potential actions and determining the appropriate option (decision making). This is a valuable characteristic in any scenario.

Although decision making power is inherent, due to our constant need to exercise this skill – by choosing the best way to defend a marketing strategy instead of another, for example-, refining the ability to analyze a situation and understand its implications demands practice, discipline and focus.

Considering the vast amount of data generated by technology (which will only increase), knowing how to judge and make intelligent decisions is the key to reach insights that are not superficial, but capable of actually changing the business.

Negotiation

Negotiation is an interaction between two parties with the aim of reaching an agreement. When the interests of these parties are misaligned, a leader who is capable of managing this misalignment and defining priorities will ensure the achievement of a mutually-beneficial outcome.

In order to negotiate effectively – for money, policies, projects -, it is necessary to have clarity about the situation and the outcome we want to reach. On this basis, one must build a solid line of reasoning and be able to define a clear route toward the desired outcome, while being genuine in their willingness to take the wishes and concerns of both sides into account.

An antagonistic game of zero-sum gamesmanship serves neither party in a negotiation. In essence, a skilled negotiator builds mutual comprehension over a point of conflict and finds ways to facilitate a solution, not impose obstacles.

Orientation to serve

People well-versed this skill pursue ways to help and serve others, including both clients and colleagues. Mastery means identifying the needs and concerns of all stakeholders, even anticipating them for those they have made the effort to know on a deeper level – either through new products and services or by adapting existing ones.

Exceptional service especially stands out in highly competitive markets, driving retention and brand loyalty. Sympathy is a necessary component of securing this loyalty, as well as avoiding presumptions about what clients might desire from a given product, service or alternate scenario.

It may seem like a laborious process, on the contrary: it is a mentality. Orienting actions to another’s needs is something we do every day, without noticing, with family, friends and colleagues. In addition to being a fundamental characteristic of human relationships, this skill is guaranteed to generate countless insights for the organization.

Critical Thinking

While technology is leveraged for automation (either repetitive tasks or tested and proven tasks), people with critical thinking skills prove to be superior in generating insights by questioning assumptions, validating facts, evaluating evidence and various perspectives.

In an era of excessive data, the value of logical and critical thinking is accentuated to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our conclusions. It is true that algorithms can able to solve complex analytical problems, but they still lack essential human qualities like ethics and dealing with ambiguity.
The more knowledge you have – in your personal or professional life -, the more inputs you have to think critically about. Therefore, critical thinking is a skill that grows with experience, since it is nurtured from diverse living interactions.

Complex problem solving

This skill focuses on the most difficult questions, taking into account relevant information and evaluating a range of options as they relate to the implementation of solutions in the real world. In the era of technology, this aspect cannot be understated. Data may assist us in identifying multiple potential solutions, however, the more complex or novel the problem is, the more important human capacity to transform this data into intelligence becomes.

According to the World Economic Forum, 36% of all work will require complex problem solving by 2020. This has a reason: When great transformations are being made, which involve multiple options or backgrounds, the human being remains the best tool for forward thinking and pursuing brand-new paths.

Why build the team of the future?

Skill development is today’s key challenge. By creating a culture of continuous learning, companies will drive a change in mentality and an environment which values the development needed to succeed in this century.

The Institute for the Future, which authored a report of skills on the rise by 2030 in partnership with the University of Phoenix, highlights the role of the corporate sector, especially human resources teams. Among digital disruptions, a strategy to develop teams in a way that is aligned with the business’s objectives “should be one of the key objectives of HR professionals and involve universities to help encourage lifelong learning”.

According to the World Trade Organization, the importance of companies today is even broader and more impactful. If developing countries such as Brazil are able to make the required investments in this new phase (especially building leaders with entrepreneurial and managerial skills), they may leverage the opportunities creating by digital technologies to close the gap with advanced nations. This means collaborating with their teams to help build the future of a country.

Prepare yourself
with the skills
of the future

The skills demanded today are different from those that made companies succeed in the past.

Get to know the ROAD OF SKILLS program, the educational solution that prepares your teams to lead transformations in your company and in society.

GO TO THE ROAD OF SKILLS PAGE

REFERENCES

  1. The Future of Jobs (Fórum Econômico Mundial, 2018)
  2. 5 things to know about the future of jobs (Fórum Econômico Mundial, 2018)
  3. Future Work Skills 2020 (Institute for the Future, 2011)
  4. World Trade Report 2018 (Organização Mundial do Comércio, 2018)