The pandemic has increased the pace of change in a digitally accelerated world, and at the same time, it is forcing organisations, leaders, and teams to become more purposeful, human, and customer-centric. Where managing both the future and the present simultaneously requires people to unlearn what has worked in the past and relearn new mindsets and behaviours as to what might be possible, useful, and relevant in the future. This is crucial to enabling people to perform at their best, and it requires investment in reskilling and upskilling people to be future-fit to meet the needs of previously unheard-of occupations, newly emerging flexible job options, all of which are being transformed by the pandemic, coupled with technologies created by accelerated digitization. Where organisation, leaders, and teams can increase speed, agility and improve simplicity and strategically generate new ways of tapping into the power of, and harnessing and mobilizing people’s collective intelligence.
To better enable them to balance and resource organisational digital, agile, or cultural transformational initiatives with the needs of its people, users, customers, and communities, and execute them accordingly.
Collective intelligence is group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration, efforts, and engagement of diverse groups, tribes, teams, and collectives. Which poses a great opportunity, which is also critical to recovery, for organisations to attract, retain, manage and leverage talent through reskilling and upskilling people to be future-fit by:
- Enhancing flexible work options
The recent World Economic Forum Job Reset Summit reported that – “in 2020, the global workforce lost an equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs, an estimated $3.7 trillion in wages and 4.4% of global GDP, a staggering toll on lives and livelihoods.”
McKinsey & Co in a recent article state that – as many as 25 percent more workers may need to switch occupations than before the pandemic.
This means that in a hybrid work environment, without the constriction of location, and with the ability to leverage connection digitally, at little, or no cost, there is a greater talent pool to draw from. Including, according to a recent Harvard Business Review article “What your future employees want most” untapped pools of talent such as the “home force” which includes bringing people back into the workforce including people who put their careers on hold due to raising children, caring for the elderly and retired baby boomers.
It also means that some people will be more likely to prioritize lifestyle (family and personal interests) over proximity to work, and will pursue jobs in locations where they can focus on both – even if it means taking a pay cut. Workers will be more likely to move out of cities and other urban locations if they can work remotely for a majority of the time, creating new work hubs in rural areas.
- Measuring the value delivered and not the volume
Designing people and customer-centric work experiences, roles gives people the space to unlock their full potential, maximize their impact by delivering transformative results that contribute to the common good and to the future of humanity.
It also encourages cross-fertilization of creative ideas through teaming and networking, maximising the power of collaboration and collaborative technologies to create and capture value, through inventing new business models, services, and products that users and customers appreciate and cherish.
- Prioritizing continuous learning, reskilling and upskilling
At the same time, customer expectations and preferences are also constantly changing, giving rise and opening doors to new roles and opportunities, that may have never previously existed.
Organisations also need to discover and explore new ways of competing and future-proofing against uncertainty and disruption. They also need to invent new ways of boosting productivity and improving efficiency, through adapting and flexing to flow with the new reality and to ultimately grow and thrive within it.
There are also opportunities to solve complex problems by increasing reciprocity and collaboration through cross-functional partnerships, collectives, tribes, and ecosystems, designed to capture and deliver value co-creatively.
Reskilling and upskilling people to be future-fit by maximising collective intelligence require disrupting complacency and stagnation and creating an environment of continuous learning and trust where people have the permission and safety and are “allowed” to:
- Value and leverage differences and diversity in ways that evoke, provoke, and create new ways of being through unlearning, and through relearning to adopt a beginner’s mind, develop a paradox lens, and elastic thinking strategies to pivot quickly into new roles and structures as situations demand.
- Challenge the status quo, by withholding judgement and evaluation, through developing vital generative questioning, listening, and debating skills to deep dive into and unleash creative and inventive ideas.
- Continuously learn, to remain both agile and adaptive, collaborative and innovative, to discover, evolve, and grow talent in ways that are both nimble and sustainable.
- Create lines of sight between strategy, structures, systems, people, and customers, identifying and maximizing interdependencies, through intentional collaboration where everyone knows that their efforts contribute to, and make a difference to the delivery of organisational outcomes.
- Provide rigour, discipline by driving accountability and by constantly measuring and sharing feedback and results to allow for engaging people in continuous learning, iterative process, and real-life pivots.
Leveraging collective genius
Only by prioritizing reskilling and upskilling people to be future-fit organisations will leverage people’s collective genius and enhance their agility to survive and thrive, flow, and flourish in a VUCA world.
Organisations that are future-focussed will create meaningful and purposeful hybrid workplaces that increase peoples’ job satisfaction and support. That provides flexible work options, continuous learning, and focus on generating value delivery will build people’s loyalty and retention and lower hiring costs over time.
An uncertain future
According to the World Economic Forum Job Reset Summit – “While vaccine rollout has begun and the growth outlook is predicted to improve, and even socio-economic recovery is far from certain”.
Yet, with so much uncertainty about the future, there is one thing that we can all control and is controllable, are our mindsets – how we think, feel, and choose to act in any situation, especially in our communication, problem-solving, and decision-making processes.
All of us have the freedom to choose, to develop our independent wills, and create new ways of being, thinking, feeling, and doing – to meet the needs of a wide range of previously unheard-of occupations that are emerging, to provide more flexible, meaningful and purposeful job options.
To leverage the current turning point, which full of possibilities and innovative opportunities for enabling organisations, people, and customers to be more equitable, resilient, sustainable, and future-fit, in an ever-changing landscape, impacted by the technologies created by accelerated digitization.