When I was a kid, the most joyous times I remember were playing Monopoly with my father and my brothers.We were all extremely competitive, but … we played the complete opposite of cutthroat. Our goal was to see how long we could keep everyone IN the game. And that meant changing the rules … which confused the heck out of any visitors joining in!
Someone’s Changed The Rules At Work …
And those changes can be as confusing as our weird Monopoly house rules were to our visitors.
But this isn’t a game. Artificial intelligence is already starting to eat some people’s jobs for lunch. And not just for employees, but for small business owners, contractors, and consultants, alike.
You don’t have to search very hard to find news stories, articles, and reports about the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on people’s work. In fact, one technologist is predicting that robots alone are likely to replace half of all jobs in the next decade.
Of course, new types of jobs are emerging … someone has to plan, build, program and manage those robots. So one way of staying ahead of the curve is to keep picking up new skills … and not necessarily just work skills. There’s learning to use all the new and emerging technology that’s changing the way we live.
Then there are the soft skills, like empathy and how to really listen to people to understand their problems and needs. Those soft skills can be harder to learn, especially if we’ve been rewarded earlier on in our careers for NOT being empathetic or listening … can you all say “downingsizing” with me?
But It’s More Than Just Upskilling …
A new mindset and willingness to change is also vital and those two things can be in short supply.
Jeanne Meister, a partner with Future Workplace, an HR Advisory and Research firm dedicated to providing insights on the future of learning and working, tells us in a Forbes article that when she spoke to a group of senior HR leaders about using artificial intelligence to make their jobs easier, they came up with a bunch of barriers:
“… namely the fear of job loss among HR team members, lack of skills to truly embrace these new technologies and the change management needed to adopt to new ways of sourcing, recruiting, and engaging employees.”
It’s More Complex Than We Think …
It’s not just HR people who struggle with how emerging technology is changing the way work gets done. Business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants and people working in the gig economy do, as well.
It never ceases to surprise me when I talk to business owners and they say things like …. “oh, I don’t have time to learn that new time-saving technique/process/technology”. Or “oh, I can’t be bothered buying and learning that new software program” … even though their customers are going elsewhere because they don’t have it.
It’s just as bad in large organizations. As Chief Information Officer, I was responsible for ensuring that the people in my organization (not just my team) had the training they needed to use new technology as it was being introduced into the business.
Often the pushback to adopting that new technology was enormous … even if it meant that customers would have a worse experience … or would be less likely to buy.
My takeaway lesson? People don’t like change they can’t control.
People On The Hiring/Purchasing Side Hate Change Too …
And that can complicate things for you, whether you’re running a small business, changing careers or just reacting to changes in your workplace.
Currently, once you’ve developed a new skill set, it can take months trying to convince people you can do the work.
It’s a chicken and egg thing … people won’t believe you can do the work unless you’ve got experience. How do you get experience? Do the work …
And if you’re over 45 … there’s the extra burden of hoping that age discrimination won’t be an unspoken problem. Admittedly, this problem is more likely to affect people in corporate situations, but it can also be a hindrance if you’re a contractor, consultant or small business owner trying to win a tender.
It means hoping that procurement people and recruiters, HR people and managers won’t just assume that you are under-experienced and overqualified. And that’s a risky thing to pin your future earnings hopes on ….
Surfing The Tsunami …
So the problem is actually more complex than just retraining or re-skilling yourself. It’s about what needs to change within the whole work ecosystem so it can adapt to this new world. Plus it also means helping the people who are part of that ecosystem recognize that they need to change. HR managers, bosses, recruiters, procurement people, you name it…
There’s a real mix of change “gotchas” here. In fact, it’s almost a perfect storm of them.
So how will you stay ahead of that particular tsunami? How will you navigate the changes taking place in your world of work? Do you know what they are? Have you started looking for ways to get ahead of the curve and prepare for the inevitable?
Do you know what you need to do to grab a board and surf that tsunami wave instead of drowning in it?
How Do We Help Others Change…?
More importantly, how do we help our communities and the people around us (especially our children) thrive in this new environment instead of being dragged under from the turbulence … with all the potential societal issues that bring?
When it comes to helping our children adapt and cope, I’m hearing more and more people call for entrepreneurial training to be made part of the standard curriculum. That would certainly be helpful for the next generation, but what about now?
I don’t have all the answers … none of us do. But I think we can get a good head start by becoming aware of the changes around us, deliberately deciding to adapt and making a habit of picking up new skills.
What’s the first thing you think everyone should do to survive all the changes headed our way at work? Post a comment below and let me know.
Digital Tech Consultant | Writer | Coach
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