I challenge you to read this paragraph and then close your eyes and focus.
Think about the future. What does it look like to you? How do you think humankind operates 20, 30, or 40 years from now? Are we even more digitally connected than we already are? What behaviors or actions are commonplace now that might be nonexistent then?
Now, open your eyes. Guess what? You’re in the future now; it’s what we all spend the rest of our lives in. That moment prior to you reading the previous paragraph has passed, and we are all one step closer to those potential visuals you painted in your mind. Time passing is a Hard Trend, or future certainty that is constantly occurring, and no matter how you savor the present, you know that in some way you always plan for what comes next.
So then professionally, to those who try to protect and defend the status quo of their career, business, or industry as a whole, I want to know: Why? If time passes and the physical world evolves, isn’t it unrealistic to think that your career, business, or industry won’t?
When you think about the future of the industry you work in or own a business in, what makes you feel secure? Is it your position title, your abilities, or a specific product or service that the company performs or creates?
Truth be told, most still have a mindset where the professional skills they learned when first entering the workforce will stand the test of time until retirement, especially younger individuals. However, finding security in this mindset is dangerous, as that era has long passed and we are now in a time more transformative than ever before.
Disruptive digital technology is also a Hard Trend future certainty that has long been streamlining tasks in every industry, taking the place of many humans in different professional roles. This disruptive wave is in no way slowing down, especially following the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 where many of those disruptive digital advancements accelerated by as much as five years in just four months!
But there is good news; humans can be anticipatory and find a way to take new positions alongside disruptive digital technology! Not only are new positions emerging in the tech sector, traditional jobs that have gotten tech-related overhauls desperately need human soft skills to function. With these new roles comes the need for new education, and merely learning one skill set at a college or tech school is no longer sufficient.
We all strive to be professionally indispensable to an industry or company, but developing the skill you’re passionate about is no longer as simple as dedication to the same organization for 50-plus years.
As an employee, the future of your career no longer depends on simple loyalty to a company; it depends on how employable you are. As you can imagine, this requires an individual to be constantly learning and implementing their own Anticipatory mindset, paying attention to Hard Trends that are shaping the industry they work in and finding ways to be the disruptor rather than the disrupted.
I have written several articles about disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other autonomous software that handles the hard skills more every day, such as calculations and programming. Training a person on how to program, or solely stressing the importance of math and science is, in many ways, inadequately preparing them for the future we already find ourselves in.
The skills that will keep a human being employable beside their artificially intelligent counterparts are the soft skills: creativity, critical thinking, and other cognitive computing that a machine cannot do. These soft skills are vital, and presently, even some of the most traditional career paths are starved for skilled workers, such as the trades, sales representatives, technicians, drivers, and more.
These career fields have largely transformed, and it’s starting to look like many professionals haven’t kept up with the evolving skill demands of these industries. But what might be the solution to this?
Redefining qualifying criteria and implementing marketing materials that boast a culture of learning at a company is a static activity; companies must consider themselves a “college” in and of themselves and actually implement interactive learning experiences.
Going back to the topic of security, if you are a business leader, you want your employees to feel secure! And that security comes from feeling educated and prepared for anything, as they too know that times change and processes evolve. I have spoken to employees at some of the largest corporations in the world, and more often than not I come across ones who worry they are wasting their working career because of skill set stagnation. This leaves them to wonder if perhaps they will be unemployable should they choose to move on.
If a company takes real steps toward helping them grow, they are sure to feel less like they have no security! And it all starts with aligning the Futureview® at your organization by way of having an Anticipatory mindset. Using my Anticipatory Leader System, you can learn how to leverage digital disruption to your and your organization’s advantage and then use your understanding of Hard Trends that are shaping the future to educate employees on how their careers may change.
Innovative products and services that drive your business don’t just appear out of nowhere; they come from a strong, skilled, and imaginative team of human beings, which, as a business leader, you have! Don’t let them down!
Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker. He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to accelerate innovation and results by develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM. He is the author of seven books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight, and his latest book The Anticipatory Organization. He is a featured writer with millions of monthly readers on the topics of innovation, change and the future and has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Wired, CNBC, and Huffington Post to name a few. He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes. He has founded six businesses, four of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities. In 1983 he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. He also linked exponential computing advances to economic value creation. His specialties are technology-driven trends, strategic innovation, strategic advising and planning, business keynote presentations.