Recently I’ve regularly been quoting this phrase when talking about adapting to the new realities of global disruptions, global unknowns and strategic steps for future success. The key in being able to efficiently deal with the growing wave of challenges around us is in re-educating yourself.
Here are five strategic steps you can follow to re-educate yourself for new realities…
Work on your foundation
In March and April, many of us have been under different forms of lockdown and our experience shows that we have no silver bullet to quickly fix the mounting problems that confront us; but we do have various tools to educate ourselves to deal with current and future challenges more effectively. I see a consensus among self-management and self-improvement gurus that it is strategically very important to devote some of your time to self-reflection in order to assess your most important asset – yourself, especially your soft skills! You should identify, update and study the most critical soft skills that your boss, colleagues or friends value most about you (e.g., agility, motivation, emotional intelligence (EI), leadership…). It’s up to you to decide what you need (and want) to develop further by writing out a pyramid of the most in-demand soft skills (perhaps in a flip chart on the wall) and prioritizing what you should address right now.
Diversification of your assets
The recently released LinkedIn 2020 “Workplace Learning Report” comprised data from almost 500,000,000 professionals, mapped into a list of the 15 most in-demand soft and hard skills. Almost all the students and young professionals around me are struggling to find their very own hard skills on this list, and it seems that in our rapidly changing world the skill gaps continue to widen, including information and communication technologies (ICT). Therefore, it is important to think about the future of your specific work field and to identify areas that you can capture by acquiring new hard skills and competencies, especially ICT-related abilities. This does not mean that everyone should become a programmer or expert in artificial intelligence (AI); but it implies that everyone should consider mastering additional in-demand hard skills to be ready for the huge changes in the labor market that are foreseeable within the next 12 months.
Remote work and virtual reality
Debates are rampant about productivity and working remotely from your office. In many places, the enthusiasm of the first week of working from home office gave way to a collapse of productivity and emotional exhaustion after the second and third weeks onward. Productive remote work has proven to be harder, more difficult to manage. Many people discovered that it requires additional sets of sophisticated skills, including knowledge of the numerous new and existing kinds of software, document sharing apps and other online productivity tools. In addition, there is a need for meticulous time management and people management proficiencies (well, how to handle dexterously a situation when your entire family would like to come to the kitchen every time when you would like to focus on your urgent project or on a teleconference with your boss?). Being competitive today means re-educating yourself to master new sets of skills in remote work (from time management and remote office management to EI and AI), and applying the elements of virtual reality (VR) in various communication and virtual office settings.
Reinventing yourself online
In the era of social distancing, the only way to stay visible and close to your colleagues in your work field is to be active in social networking – and even in this field staying ahead means being very professional in social networking skills. Many recent studies suggest that today people should spend at least 1-2 hours a day on the Internet and social media. What to achieve in this time? You should by polishing your bio and profile on LinkedIn and other professional and job search websites, and learning how to get rid of those small but annoying typos, sloppy sentences and incomplete thoughts and ideas. It is important to reinvent yourself in cyberspace by updating and professionalizing your social networking, media marketing and social media communication skills.
Learning… about learning
The power of online learning offers a lot of opportunities to fill the skill-gap, but be careful not to head out on a wild goose chase; instead, choose carefully and wisely the educational tools suitable for you. Just identifying gaps in your skill set is not enough in the modern world. The opportunities for online learning are endless as thousands of universities and training organizations have launched massive open online courses (MOOCs) on hundreds of subjects! Refine your learning process by effectively using your carte blanche of MOOCs and all those online studying tools and platforms, to choose the most efficient courses, modules and programs to fit your specific needs: this itself is an additional set of skills to acquire!