Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2012 - (Page 15)
LeArNING 2020 | Lisa BodeLL
LeaderS of ToMorrow need righT-Brain SkiLLS
5 criTicaL SkiLLS To Survive ToMorrow
here “global knowledge” was once essential for leaders, IBM’s 2010 Global CEO Study cited “creativity” as the most important leadership quality for the future. This is one of many signals that the business world is evolving out of the Information Age, where left-brain technical skills, knowledge and expertise were king. Escalating business complexity and competition requires today’s companies to demonstrate more than knowledge or technical expertise: they must cultivate new skill sets that embrace and thrive on change. The leaders of tomorrow need right-brain skills involving simultaneous metaphorical, aesthetic, contextual and synthetic processing. This is partly because the amount of new information about any given subject is constantly increasing. After decades of working with innovation leaders, we’ve identified the most critical skills needed to compete in tomorrow’s market: • Strategic Imagination — Strategic imagination refers to “dreaming with purpose.” Today’s employee is so mired in busywork that their ability to think long-term has waned. But employees of tomorrow must learn to actively imagine future possibilities and create scenarios to act on them. Spur teams toward this mindset by providing resources that fuel future thinking, such as LongBets.com, Springwise.com, and NewScientist.com. Follow up by inviting teams to envision their business unit in the year 2020. • Provocative Inquiry — The ability to ask smart and often unsettling questions is known as provocative inquiry. Transformative power lies in asking questions that make us rethink the obvious. You can spark inquiry by sending team members a handful of questions like “What are the unshakable beliefs about client/ customer needs in our industry … what if the opposite were true?” By encouraging curiosity, you fan the fires that create new ideas and improve current offerings. • Creative Problem-Solving Skills — In tomorrow’s competitive market, employees will need to continually exercise their creative problem skills by applying the best practices from unexpected sources to create fresh solutions. Hone this reflex in employees at your next status meeting by utilizing an exercise called RE:think. Offer people an everyday object (paper clip, scissors, etc.) and ask them to pretend they’ve never encountered it before. What does this new product do? What are its benefits and how would they position it? Activities like Re:think can strengthen your team’s ability to approach problems in unconventional ways. • Agility — Keeping pace with change is a challenge, yet meeting unexpected situations with quick thinking and resourcefulness is the very definition of agility. In a world where change is the only constant, a Plan B — and C, D, and E — is truly critical. Cultivate the mindset of preparedness by leading teams through a “Wild Card” scenario. Using a current project, ask the group to present a brief project plan. Then break into smaller teams and challenge each to succeed despite Wild Cards such as “50 percent less budget” or “Half the R&D time.” Planning for success under constraint helps employees gain agility and prepare for change before it is forced upon them. • Resilience — Employees will also need to demonstrate resilience, which translates to tenacity and courage in the face of obstacles. Teach your teams to overcome barriers by practicing the art of “Impossible to Possible.” Ask groups to write answers to these questions: What would a customer say we should do for them but never would? What would make us the industry leader — although hell would have to freeze over for it to happen? What impossible thing would make your job infinitely better? Then, ask teams to swap lists with another group and find a way to turn their list of impossible things into possibilities. This exercise truly awakens the competitive spirit and gives rise to a solution-driven mindset. The business world is at a critical inflection point and to compete in tomorrow’s market, today’s companies must demonstrate more than knowledge or technical expertise: they must cultivate new skill sets, many involving right-brain functions. To avoid extinction, we must fuel the kind of daily future thinking that will enable our teams to conceptualize — and handle — the blessings and burdens of a new era. Lisa Bodell is the founder and CEO of futurethink, and author of Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution. Email Lisa.
Training Industry Quarterly, Fall 2012 / A Training Industry, Inc. magazine / www.trainingindustry.com/TIQ
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2012
Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2012
From Where I Sit: Learning Technology Market Segments
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Supporting the Business of Learning
The Coherent Enterprise
Tracking Informal Learning with Tin Can
Can Your People Trust You?
5 Critical Skills to Survive Tomorrow
Expert Education: Training, Technology & SMEs
Cloud Transition: More to Consider Than Just Security
My Training Dashboard? Which One?
5 Gaming Elements for Effective e-Learning
Let's Get Multi-Platform Training Right
Casebook: Colorado Secretary of State's Office
Tracking Trends: Technology: Supporting Key Initiatives
Closing Arguments: Must-See Technology
Training Industry Quarterly - Fall 2012