What is the shelf life of our skills?

Which skills are the ones that organizations need the most and are they sustainable?

Do those types of skills actually exist and how accurately can we ever predict which skills are needed in the future? Kepner and Tregoe, who founded KT in 1958, believed that critical thinking skills are what matter the most, regardless of the organization and prevailing conditions. After 57 years, I am wondering is this still a valid statement?

According to the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report concerning “The future of jobs”, we face challenges with the disruptive technology changes of mobile technologies, big data, new energies and the internet of things.

The WEF raised the question of “shelf life” of skills and of the length of time a skill can be used whithout becoming unfit for use. Clearly, some technical skills are no longer needed due to further automation, but in the area of professional services, information and communication technology it is expected that more complex problem solving skills and analytical thinking is needed since big data invariably needs to be analyzed and communicated by sharing a common critical thinking approach.

The forum published their short list of skills needed in 2020,

and drew the conclusion that it is important to continue investing in skill development of the current employees and to ensure effective collaboration and knowledge exchange. People should be encourage to be more flexible in their skill set in preparation for future change and as seen in the table  the “long-lasting”-skills are preferred over the very specific technology related skills.

Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe researched behaviors and skills of individuals and discovered that complex problem solving and critical thinking skills provide organizations with a real competitive advantage. It improves collaboration, decision making and team work. The skills that were codified in the 1950s emain fit for use, and are even more necessary to deal with the complex issues of the modern workplace. Once acquired, the skills become part of the operational DNA of an individual, increasing the daily effectiveness in work and home life – for evermore.

Prepare yourself for the future!
KT clear thinking skills – skills with an unlimited shelf life.
For over 57 years leader in Problem Solving & Decision Making.
Happy to be part of that for 11 years.

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