Everyone ponders today whether or not they will lose their job to a robot or AI in the next 10 years or so. With artificial intelligence (AI) predicted to not only replace rote and repetitive blue collar or office jobs, but also writers, lawyers and even CEOs everyone should have some trepidation about the safety of their jobs. I have written numerous times about the importance of being “human” in your job, but that is not easy in all jobs.
Being Human Is Not the Only Requirement
My friend Ira Wolfe has written a new book (as yet unpublished) called Recruiting in the Age of Googlization. In this book Ira talks about the difficulties of living and working in a very VUCA world. What is VUCA? That is an acronym that stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity and it was created by the U.S. Army War College to understand what was happening in the Cold War. Since then it has been adapted by companies to help with their strategic planning. Unfortunately, according to Wolfe, the late 20th century view of this world is not sufficient to get by today.
Wolfe says that today new sets of behaviors are necessary and a different perspective as well. He suggests we need flip our point of view from VUCA to VUCA prime. The latter acronym stands for Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility.
Another ingredient according to Wolfe is what Carol Dweck calls a “growth mindset.” Unfortunately, a growth mindset is “foreign territory for millions of people and organizations” says Wolfe, but it can be attained through the development of six skill. According to Wolfe these six skills will provide a blueprint for nearly every work in any job for the next decade or so.
Here are the six skills Wolfe says we must all possess in order to survive in an AI world.
1. Curiosity: This is as important as intelligence. Curiosity produces knowledge and knowledge improves intelligence. In a VUCA world curiosity may just be the skill that will help you thrive.
2. Creativity: The ability to generate new ideas and turn them into solutions; or to see the world in a different way; or the ability to connect the dots in ways others have not will be an absolute critical skill.
3. Conscientiousness: whether it is learned or inherent, most likely a combination of both, conscientiousness is valued on the job. It will be even more important in people since it is built into machines.
4. Critical thinking: In today’s world of work brain power has supplanted brawn as the desirable characteristic a worker needs to have. In lean organizations employees are expected to analyze, evaluate, create and apply the solutions, often without benefit of instruction or supervision.
5. Collaboration: Working with team members, some of which may be machines, is absolutely critical. Today’s world of work will not long abide by the “lone genius” model, since, quite frankly, few of us are lone geniuses.
6. Agility: Speed of thought, speed of execution, the ability to rapidly change directions, and to out maneuver the competition are all factors of agility. I wrote in “Agile HR” Means Looking Ahead “To be agile like a monkey you have to be looking beyond the branch you are hanging on to. Your vision needs to be out in front several steps to chart your path through the branches of the future.”
As Wolfe says “These are the skills that will make the difference in growth versus stagnation; jobs versus unemployment; and meaningful work versus trivial; in the environment of exponential change that is facing the business world.” Where do you want to stand?