Values In Business Series: Identify critical skills and new skills requirements

To be able to face the uncertainty of the 21st century, companies must invest in how they and their employees think. We must understand the importance of vertical development for people and companies. Our logic / sense making of the world around us has to evolve. There are diferent stages that people go through in environments that nurture this kind of growth and each stage gives us a different logic to use the skills and knowledge that we have. Can we say that a catterpillar is born to fly? Wouldn’t it be a shame if he never experinced the possibility of becoming a butterfly? You can read more about vertical development here.

The base for this should be a set of Antifragile Values Structures (AVS). I will go deeper into AVS in the upcoming weeks. Antifragility describes a category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it to survive and flourish. The concept was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a professor, and former trader and hedge fund manager. He thought the existing words used to describe the opposite of “fragility,” such as “robustness,” were not enought. Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Talk

The second random topic in my VIB series will have a look into skills and the values structures we should be nurtuting to be able to cope with the changes that are coming – VUCA leadership theory that focuses on volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

Let’s say that the employee of the future will have to be able to reinvent himself every 10 years and completely change his skill set to meet the demands of the job market. Can we even call it a job market at that time?

Will the same be true for the companies of the future? In the next 10 years it is predicted that 50% of the Fortune 500 will become extinct and I use this word intentionally, it is linked to everything that is happening around us. If we look at nature and the way all the big animals and plants went extinct through time, we have to ask ourselves what we can learn from it. We could say that we will be witnessing the biggest extinction of ”too big to fail (mechanic) ” companies in the history of the planet 😉

Mechanic, not complexOrganic, complex
Needs repairs and ongoing maintenanceSelf-Repair
Hates randomnessLoves randomness (small variations)
No need for recoveryThere is a need for recovery among stressors
Little or no interdependenceHigh degree of interdependence
Stressful agents cause material fatigueAbsence of stressors causes atrophy
Aging with wearGets older with non-use
Under-compensation with impactsOvercompensation with impacts
Time brings only senescenceTime brings aging and senescence
Source: Antifragile

What should this mean for the companies of today and the companies of the future? What are the skills they need to focus on for the short-, mid- and long-term? Every company has to get clear for itself what are the non-negotiable, as the Dutch would say “harde eisen” (heavy steel). What are the skills that your company cannot go without in the upcoming time? Corona is confronting us with the change of the markets as being confronted with a change of reality as we know it in these months. Will linear planning stil work in the future? Can companies realize they are driving full speed towards the cliff?

Where does a company start? VALUE STRUCTURES! What if every company would have to modify their values pool with diversity, interdependancy, connectivity and adaptability? How would this look like?

What are the new skills requirement for the post Corona time? How can we start influencing the underlying values structures of people that are going to be executing the skills necessary to make your company a success.

Company values and the way they are perceived play a key role here. We play with the triangle of what are company values, how do employees live them and how do customers perceive them. The closer those 3 are, the better for the company. If companies want to survive and adapt they have to change how they think.

We as a society have to agree on values structures that are going to make it possible for us to cope with the future, and since politics are not capable of putting something like this into place it has to come from the entrepreneurial side of life. Companies have a huge influence on their employees and can start building values structure that would make us all more antifragile for the uncertainty to come. But it is not just companies; climate, pollution, resources, education, AI, gene editing and many more topics will require an updated value structure to be able to deal with uncertainty.

We have to start understanding that the horizontal development (what one thinks, rather than how one thinks) that most companies are focusing on will make them extinct. We need to incorporate vertical development in the core of the values structures. Companies must start looking for people who fit those markers and find the best possible tools to create a shift in their current employees and nurture them to be ready for what is to come.

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