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3 Skills Everyone Needs to Learn in the Evolving Work Environment

Working life is changing and there is lots of discussion about the fourth industrial revolution, digitalization, robotics, etc. Future of Jobs report by World Economic Forum list the 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution*. I find this list impressive, however, there are couple of other aspects I would like to emphasize.

Man working at his workstation
Kati Ilvonen

Change driver and Head coach at Ericsson R&D

1. Resilience

Minna wrote at the end of her Empowering Employees to become Change Makers blog post about how you need to take care of your energy. That leads us to one of most important skills we all will need, namely resilience. Resilience is a new term in this context and there are many definitions for it (for more info see link).

One definition is that “resilience refers to the capacity of a dynamic system to adapt successfully to disturbances that threaten the viability, the function, or the development of that system”. Another definition could be that “resilience is a process to harness resources to sustain well-being”. I think these both define the point of resilience well, which is, that each person is responsible for their well-being, more than ever before. We need to learn how to best regulate our work to best prepare, and potentially avoid stress overload. We need strong concentration and relaxation skills.  What are your ways to maintain physical, emotional and mental well-being in hard times? What can you do in less stressful times to prepare yourself for the higher pressure that may follow? The answers to these questions vary for each person, and I courage you to explore these questions. For me: yoga, nature, social interaction and non-violent communication are ways to do that. Self-compassion can be one outcome of less violent inner communication. And it is something we all need now and in future.

2. Systems thinking

Most of us has been taught to break large, complex problems into smaller, easy to accomplish tasks. This isolation of tasks from the surrounding environment can make problem solving more approachable and straightforward. This kind of linear thinking is a byproduct of our education system.

However, if we take the systems thinking approach, we see everything is interconnected. As systems are dynamic and changing all the time, we cannot solve problems with same thinking that caused them. In working life and in the world in general, we are now facing new problems which we cannot solve with this old style of thinking.

How can you cultivate your systems thinking? Should you start to challenge your mental models? Maybe you can find some hints from this nice video.


3. Unlearning

We all know how important learning is in the constantly changing environment we are living. You are never ready and learning is a lifestyle. At Ericsson, we promote a Learning Lifestyle and the blog post by my colleague Outi is a great example of that.

However, the ability to unlearn outdated thinking models, beliefs and habits are as important as learning new habits and skills. And unlearning is often much harder than learning something totally new.

You can also challenge yourself by starting a new habit. If you want to unlearn your bad habits, you need to offer something new instead. Creating a new habit starts by doing small, micro-actions and repeating them long enough that they replace your old habits. There are different studies suggesting that you need to repeat the new behavior for 66 to 99 days to make it last. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you read book Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

Currently, we have organizational changes taking place. My next challenge is getting a solid grip of the new systems, how they have changed, what are forces influencing there, how networks are interacting and how I can influence. This is interesting, uncontrollable, and an exciting, never-ending story.

* the 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Kati Ilvonen
Kati Ilvonen is change driver and head coach at Ericsson R&D who loves to work with people. Since 2001, she has been working in Ericsson R&D product development in different project and line management roles and has been driving agile and lean change within organization.
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