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Emma Sue Prince



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7 skills for the future – a challenge for trainers


We all know we are living in times of unprecedented change, complexity and competition. Advances in technology, globalization, economic uncertainty the shifting workplace, and changing social dynamics are presenting us all with challenges and opportunities never before experienced. Each of us now needs to develop personal competences that help us to work well, reach our potential, make money, have a fulfilling relationship and family life (if we’ve chosen to have children) and basically, contribute to society and life with the best of ourselves that we have to offer..

How do we best go forward into unchartered territory? A recent article in Management Today discusses how leaders have to be able to prepare for a future they cannot predict, and that a lot of this rests on them developing crucial competences.

I believe that it’s not just leaders that need to develop new competences and skills but that we all need to. I believe this presents new challenges to trainers too.

So what are the 7 skills for the future? The 7 competences, the 7 qualities, THE SEVEN which are going to make the most difference?

Here they are:

1. Adaptability:  It’s more important than ever to be flexible, adaptable and agile, with plenty of resourcefulness and creativity to help us respond effectively to challenges and grab new opportunities. Why? Because things now change at a far greater speed and pace than ever before. Change is with us and constant.

2. Critical thinking: Your attitude needs to be more open than ever. Critical thinking is raw material for 21st century success! To challenge assumptions, we have to be able to look at things from different angles, think outside the box, collaborate with others, clarify goals and find solutions. Problem-solving skills have never been so crucial. You must be brave enough to challenge conventional approaches and be adaptable to changing situations and circumstances. Experiement when you can, otherwise, once your old ways have ceased to be effective, you’ll be stuck.

3. Empathy: Why is empathy important? Because without it you will never have strong listening skills or the ability to respect others and really value your relationships. Everything you do is more visible than ever. Managing and nurturing all your relationships will be a key skill and competence.

4. IntegrityAs the speed of life has accelerated, so has the number of people who are neglecting to do the things that are expected of them, including being late for appointments, failing to return calls and emails, and not completing projects on time. These may seem like small things but they are not! Trust, values, principles and honesty are the name of the game now as is authenticity. You must consistently behave in ways that are in line with your values, Throughout periods of intense change, be consistent. A harbour in the storm.

5. Optimism:  Get used to being disappointed and rejected! Know how to develop and keep a positive attitude no matter what life throws at you. But even that is not enough – you need to generate and radiate good will and positive energy to maintain a competitive edge. You need to be the most positive person you know! In the absence of certainty, you need to be able to influence and inspire others around you.

6. Pro-activity:  You may have to reinvent yourself a number of times throughout your life and work. Being proactive means thinking and acting ahead and using foresight. These days, more than ever before, employers are looking for self-starters, not someone who needs to have their hands held. You are more likely to end up working for yourself, have a portfolio career or starting your own business. At least you’ll be changing jobs and roles a number of times.

7. Resilience: Dealing with ambiguity, coping with stress and overcoming setbacks can be emotionally draining, psychologically demanding and intellectually challenging. Resilience helps you to bounce back and respond at your best. To quote Rudyard Kipling, ‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too,’ then ‘yours is the earth’.

So, I suppose the key question is how do we develop these skills and competences, both in ourselves and when we train others? Interested to know your views....

One Response

  1. 7 Skills

    Yesterday, I attend a PEOPLE EFFECTIVENESS @ WORK CONFERENCE.  Most of the points you raise, Emma Sue, emerged during the discussions.  I couldn’t agree with you more!  We certainly do need these skills .. in particular, resilience; which is a good foundation for all.


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Emma Sue Prince


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