Transformation of the way we think and adapt in our workplace – are you ready?

As big disruptive shifts hit the workplace we all get taken out of our comfort zones. Whereas once we felt in control, the stakes are evolving rapidly and our ability to adapt is falling behind.   If we consider the recent gallup poll results that indicates that only a mere 30% of the workforce is actually committed to doing a good job, engaged, it really drives home the point that we may need to take a deeper look at the skills we have today, map them against the various trends that are impacting the workplace, and derive a view to the skills we will need moving forward.


A report published by the Institute for the Future (IFTF), identifies the key work skills and capabilities needed in the future and that are indeed already required. 

Read more about the top 10 skills we will need for the future:

Design Mindset

We live in a transitional phase between an old “business world” where mass production ruled and products and services were conceived in a lab and then rolled out to the masses and a “new world” where people-centric approaches are increasingly being used to create new products and services that are thoughtfully designed through interdisciplinary teams and collaborative processes. A design mindset refers to the ideas and attitudes by which a person approaches a situation.   It is about focusing on human values and developing a deep understanding of the people that matter most to the problem we’re trying to solve. Through practicing empathy, whether through conversation, observation or experiencing, adopting a design mindset becomes a critical ingredient in the ability to execute successfully.



Steve Jobs once said:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.  

In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new castles.

Sensemaking is all about the ability to connect things to create new ideas

Maria Popova

Social Intelligence

Relationships and the ability to connect with people becomes and remains a crucial capability.

John Hagel explains:

Influence and relationship-building will now come from asking the right questions, not necessarily having all the answers. In the age of the individual, you can no longer assume that every person shares the same goals, desires and motivators. Whether you are engaging with an employee or a customer, everyone is unique and wants to be catered to in a way that’s unique to them.   The ability to connect with people in a deeper, more meaningful way whether they are colleagues or strangers will enable us to thrive in beyond the industrial age, get things done and solve complex problems. To do so, and despite the abstraction of technology, we must continue to develop capabilities to quickly understand other’s emotions, motivations and triggers and take a human approach to business.

Novel and Adaptive Thinking 

It is important that we always evolve our thinking towards the future to ensure we stay relevant.   At the pace by which companies are changing, staying up-to-date is no longer enough.

Taking self-initiative to constantly improve skills, pushing outside the comfort zone, becoming a perpetual learner, and quickly adapting to new realities and situations will help ensure creating value fro each of us in an increasingly highly competitive and fast moving working environment.

Cross-Cultural Competencies 

Globalization means that most of us work globally every day whether in big corporations or start-ups the importance of connecting and interacting with a multitude of cultures is paramount. However those who know how to empathize and adjust their communications and style of collaboration, will always have an advantage when working across geographies and cultures which will become even more important as we take on virtual meetings and the internet has already opened up cross-cultural working on an instant time bases.

Computational Thinking

An analytical way of thinking becomes center-stage as data is all around us.   The ability to translate vast amounts of data, e mails, spreadsheets into actual insight is now, more than ever, a critical skill.   To understand the meaning, the trends and patterns of what the data is telling us becomes paramount and the ability to edit that information in an analytical computational way will make an increasing difference in the workplace.  

New Media Literacy

The world of videos, blogs, and podcasts has changed the way we communicate and consume information.  The born digital will not be the only generation all of us should be new media literate, to be fluent in digital and social media forms of communications where every part of our daily lives including work will be new media orientated.


In the age of mounting competition and vast technological change, the capabilities needed to successfully differentiate a company and win in the marketplace are much broader than they were in the past.   We can no longer rely on just bringing together groups of specialists to solve our most complex problems. Instead, companies are in need of GENERALISTS with new, agile skills that can see the big picture, listen, synthesize ideas and connect the dots. These generalists will give the company responsive answers and solutions in real time based on transdisciplinarity experience.

Cognitive Load Management

The shear amount of data and information that hits us in a short span of time has exponentially increased with streams in multiple formats coming from multiple devices.   A tweet here, a text message or email there and pretty soon managing the flow and prioritization of all this information becomes a challenge.   The ability to effectively filter and focus what on what really requires your attention becomes paramount. This includes effectively managing your channels, deciding where to participate vs. where not to and taking a disciplined approach to managing distractions as opposed to real priorities.

Virtual Collaboration

Working and collaborating effectively virtually, whether on a simple task or a very complex challenge is a necessity as the nature of our work is globalized.   A variety of tools and technologies are available and will develop further to improve our collaboration, being effective as members or leaders of virtual teams.   The virtual work also demands a new set of competencies and effort in order to ensure productivity in a cross-cultural, fully global reality.

In a world where staying relevant becomes a top priority (for individuals as well as companies), there are no guarantees that either of these skills will lead to success.   The key becomes taking charge of your own destiny by evaluating where you are today and charting your personal map as to where you want to go.