The Work Skill of The Future: Adaptability

When it comes to the future of work, nobody really knows what new industries will emerge and the skills that will be in high demand. You can, of course, listen do futurists, do research and try to hypothesise as best you can – but none of these are guarantees. There is a better, more certain way of preparing for the future or advising others on how to do so.

It’s to become a critical thinker and, in doing so, make yourself adaptable to whatever may come.

A recent guest of mine on the Bond Appetit podcast, Raj Jha, puts it this way: ‘Adaptability is the skill. The future is unpredictable, and being a critical thinker and using logic is going to be the way that smart people set themselves up for the future.’ This is effectively what Raj is trying to instill in his kids – the ability to roll with the punches and figure out new situations for themselves. He rarely answers questions directly, and often responds with another question or tries to hint at a solution that could be found.

That may work great with your five or ten-year-olds, but for the rest of us wondering how we can future-proof ourselves, the question remains – how to be more adaptable.

The first thing you can do is become an entrepreneur. Building and sustaining your own business practically guarantees that you learn to be adaptable, agile and flexible. But that’s often a trial by fire – you become more adaptable by learning from your mistakes. To some degree, a hands-on approach is required, but for those who want to try to hack it without years of scars from being an entrepreneur, here are three concepts/tips to keep in mind.

Ask more abstract questions  

Most of us naturally ask questions that push to a solution or fall into line with our preconceptions. Work on training yourself to see the blind spots and think in bigger, more abstract terms. Different questions open you up to new possibilities and create a more flexible, agile mindset.

Accept a wider range of ideas  

Be wary of any rigid thinking you may be holding onto. Follow the adage, ‘strong opinions, loosely held’. Seek out perspectives that are different and – here’s the key – don’t try to convince anyone (especially yourself) that you’re right.

Keep an eye on the big picture  

Don’t get bogged down in little tasks, interactions or problems on a small scale. Remind yourself to zoom out from time to time, especially when you’re being drawn to the minutiae – see if you can find the patterns.  

I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, and the above ideas may or may not be useful to you, but if I could offer one tip for the future, it would unequivocally be… find a way to be more adaptive.

Author: Ronsley Vaz

Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.

He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.

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