There is definitely a lot of buzz around the word Singularity. Which is the moment in which supposedly in 20 or 30 years, artificial intelligence, computers and robots might become as intelligent as humans. This also means emotionally intelligent as humans. After all, even in this very moment, the computing and analytical capabilities of your smartphone in your pocket are higher than our own processing powers.
So the next decade might be crucial, and you might want to decide which of your natural talents you want to train, improve and enhance before your microwave takes over.
Here is a shortlist of 10, based on a very recent study from the University of Pennsylvania.
We live in a hyper communicative world, information is everywhere, even when we don’t want information we receive it. A notification, a sign on the street, an unwanted email, anything. We are swamped by inputs and information everywhere. So communication is everywhere, at every moment, so in the years to come we will need to be more and more persuasive. This starts with your CV at the moment of looking for a job all the way down to a meeting so that your ideas can be heard. You can actually start becoming more persuasive today, Linkedin launched this very valid free course.
In this ever-changing world, the ability to face change and adapt seems to be immensely valued. Generation Z and Millenials know this very well, often already starting to study and train for jobs that don’t even currently exist yet. Even in the face of this health emergency we now, perhaps more than ever need to be more resistant to adversities. Remote-work, less work stability, volatility in the market, the wind is getting stronger and our skins seem to need to adapt to this.
Often this ability is associated to people related to the advertisement, cinema or arts in general. This is a mistake. Being creative will be one of the most sought Soft Skills in the coming years. Ultimately, being creative means having the capacity of thinking out of the box to solve any given matter that might, and oh boy you can bet it will come your way during your time working at any project. That is probably what we often call genius. Many companies by themselves are nothing else but a creative way to solve problems in a new way. Think of Netflix for example, or Spotify. There are many ways to ignite and feed your creative side, one of them I can tell you now, stress literally kills your creativity, so inhale, exhale, repeat.
4. Customer Support
As Covid-19 made its way into our business world, many companies needed to face overnight with unforeseen issues and complaints from their customers. Companies like Amazon needed to adapt to their orders multiplying threefold, and of course, this must-have initially created delays and problems that nobody could have forecasted. As we all know, sometimes it’s not only about solving the problem but even more important, it’s about dealing with the problem, with the customers’ concerns.
Companies are becoming more and more global, offering SaaS or shipping everywhere in the world, so often Customer Support in multiple languages is needed. Think about it, they are actually very often the face of your company.
5. Team Work
Most of us I am sure is ready to put their hand on fire that they are great at teamwork. I am not saying it isn’t so, all I’m confronting here is that in my experience true listening skills are rare and that collaborating more and more remotely is just making Team Work more challenging. Teams are
likely to become more international, and especially more distant, making even casual and random team encounters near to impossible. How many meetings does a large organization have in a year? What if those meetings were only 10% more effective? What if your team could constantly re-motivate one another rather than become an impediment? All of these answers are real Team Work at play. And yes, Linkedin has a free course about this too.
6. Crisis Management
Let’s face it, a lot of things happened just in 2020. We live in a more globalized world, so violent riots, aggressive natural phenomenons, unexpected political situations affect all of us in a way or the other. We are all very much interconnected and probably in pretty much every stage of the company we work in, we somehow need to manage some sort of unforeseen situation, when it’s really bad, we call that a crisis. Whether it is environmental, political, internal, or economic, the world started to spin faster and faster in the last decades, pushing our decision-makers to take strong corrective measures, at the same speed.
The ability to keep it cool amid a storm is not only great to have if you are a ship captain. The market is fast-changing and your competitors, thanks to social media and the internet, now have a much clearer view of whatever is cooking in the kitchen of our companies. This Soft Skill is rare to find and hard to train, it might go hand in hand with Resilience but it also requires to go a step forward and to detail an action plan that is clear to all of your organization and stakeholders.
7. Full domain of Social Networks
Not only is crucial to get a hold of what is your digital identity (when is the last time you googled your full name?), but it is also essential to deeply understand the entire digital ecosystem in which your company is participating. Sure, some of these responsibilities can be delegated to your Marketing Department or CMO, but more and more we will all need to understand the entirety of how we decide to join the online conversation. So many of these assets are intangible, like brand awareness for example, unless you are multinational and you can interview thousands of people, it is extremely complicated to get a sense of how visible is your brand out there. Do you exist? Can clients find you? Are they aware that you are the solution to their problem? Why should they choose you? All of these matters are often answered online first. See the Social Dilemma documentary for a better overview of this.
8. Data Analysis
“If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist” states a very famous business mantra. Big Data has become the protagonist of the past decade. Us humans, we nowadays gather SO MUCH information from so many sources that its volume is no longer possible to manage by human beings alone. Only machines and computers can possibly assist us in navigating through billions of numbers, behavioral patterns, logs, trends and so forth. We will all pretty soon be needing to have at least some basic capacity to interpret complex data pies, excels and have a minor background in statistics. In the past businesses were led by intuitions, now, they are uniquely data-driven.
9. Image Editing
There is so much that machines can do, but some very essential activities still are decades away from being able to become completely automatized. We live in a more and more visual world. Twitter started this revolution by reducing the amount of text you could use in a single post. Instagram directly wiped out all the text by having images dominate the scene. Everything is becoming more and more visually attractive, it actually needs to become so as every standard is constantly raising. So we will need to either hire a free-lance or have an in-house visual designer (in all of its variants of course), to embellish our proposals and packagings. Overall having some basic understanding of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator won’t harm.
Perhaps being not only one of the most demanded abilities but even professions, programming is something we all need to have at least some sort of idea. No matter what you offer in your company,
programming is the door that could unlock so many possibilities even just inside your organization.
Let me ask you this, how many of your weekly tasks are absolutely unique, how many are repetitive? If they are repetitive, then it means they must follow a somewhat sort of protocol, order, process and BINGO! If they do, then it means that you could somehow automate them. Yes, sometimes the programming cost of designing a short script just for that might be higher than the time it takes you to do it, but that entirely depends on the size of your company and the cost of your salary. A lot can be automated, perhaps even just partially. So it is good that at least you are aware of all that can be done by putting many 00101001001001111 near each other.
All in all, the bottom line here is that we all need to keep growing, learning, and evolving. Times are changing, fast, so we also need to keep a bit of an eye on whatever is happening around us and maybe strengthen some of the skills we would need shortly.
Don’t become mentally lazy, challenge yourself, engage with someone external who can give you a neutral look on what are your key talents and what could very strategical for you to improve.
As good old Steve said once: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”.
On the Linkedin Learning platform you can find courses regarding most of these abilities for free, simply type the name and you will find many valuable resources.