Changes are happening fast now. Very fast! In a world where health, environment and economy can feel like unstable subjects, we will, in all probability, have to get used to rapid changes in the future as well.
There is a lot of talk about AI, Augmented Reality, automation, 5G and other technical solutions that will help companies move forward, in a changing world. But at least as important, if not more important, are things such as creativity, cooperation and empathy. Heather McGowan is one of many future strategists who emphasises the importance of investing in people to be able to lead a successful business.
Rapid change requires rapid adaptation
We are going through changes, driven by technology, at an immense pace. When the steam engine was launched, society had two generations to get used to the change it entailed. Today we have to absorb 4-5 different paradigm shifts, within a single generation, says Heather McGowan.
The same goes for learning. Just a generation ago, you learned a profession when you were young and then you could work with it all your life. Today we constantly need to learn new things and develop to keep up with the changes in society. We must be extremely adaptable, both in the labor market and in our private lives.
How well a company performs is very much affected by how adaptable its employees are.
A hybrid workplace requires a new way of thinking
During the time of industrialism it was about scalable production, today it is about scalable adaptation and learning. Many jobs are believed to be able to be automated, in the near future. So what companies need to focus more on are things that are harder to automate, namely creativity and empathy. Hiring a person who is very good at a specific task becomes less important. Instead, companies must invest in allowing and encouraging the development of their employees.
Technology is a tool
Technology is a tool and tools require a person to handle it. So we are still in need of people to perform tasks, despite increased automation. According to a report, from the McKinsey Global Institute, on automation, the chance for full-time jobs will remain for people, however, 75-375 million people may need to change their jobs by 2030. So it is a huge adjustment that will be required in the coming years.
Companies today must stop focusing solely on what they sell and instead spend more time on what purpose it has. And an important part of that work has to do with the internal culture. McGowan believes that the managers who make their companies thrive lead with confidence in their employees and creates safety for them. By letting their employees develop within their work, they create a higher value, both for the company in terms of production and return, but also for the employee.
Lay the foundation for collaboration and creativity
In a workplace where the work situation can be working 100% from the office, 100% from home or something in between, the right tools are required to create the right conditions for collaboration and creativity. With the right collaboration tools and seamless communication tools, entrepreneurs lay the foundation for both being able to connect with their employees and at the same time let them connect with each other, no matter where in the world they are. Focus on letting employees learn, both from each other, from your competitors and from your customers. In this way, you ensure that your company can keep up with the winds of change and stay relevant, both now and in the future.