Skills for the Next Quarter Century

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As the great and the good fly to Davos this week for this year’s World Economic Forum, and the inevitable irony of having many fly into Switzerland by private jet when one of the core topics for discussion is sustainability will not be lost on many, we find ourselves asking what is the point of the World Economic Forum.

With COP 26 and COP 27 still seeming to fail to gain the necessary traction, even as the evidence of a changing climate is in our faces every day, the “greater good” (vested interests) of those invited to Davos (I can’t say that phrase without an internal voice echoing Jim Broadbent in Hot Fuzz! seems to play against what most of us see as needing to be done.

So what… and - mini-rant over - whither the World Economic Forum!? What has the World Economic Forum ever done for us (this seems to be a blog full of movie-driven internal voices!)?

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In 2020 WEF produced a report on the Top 10 Work Skills of Tomorrow ( and it’s actually a very interesting and insightful read, even if all you do is look at the list itself.

It lists:

  • Analytical thinking and innovation
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Creativity, originality and initiative
  • Leadership and social influence
  • Technology use, monitoring and control
  • Technology design and programming
  • Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
  • Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation

What has the World Economic Forum ever done for us?

As critical skills that we will need in 2025 (not that long away now!) and that to achieve this, 50% of our workforce will need re-skilling with 40% of skills of current workers expected to change in the next 5 years.

I find this a fascinating list as most of these fall into what some disparagingly call “soft” skills but my go-to leadership guru Simon Sinek calls HUMAN skills ( Even as we become increasingly digital, our human interactions actually become ever more important in delivering our outcomes, not less.

Now look at this list and review your own capability and that of the team and organisation you are part of. Do you all look, sound and think the same or is there a melting pot of styles and experiences and ways of thinking that can support skills 1,2,3,4,5 and 10? Do you have the ability to align your organisational structures with your systems of work and your embedded culture and behaviours to solve complex problems in an increasingly ambiguous and uncertain world?

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As an individual in a team and organisation, are you able and equipped to be resilient, to have the environment around you that allows you to recover from stress response (Skill 9)? Is the environment psychologically safe to allow you to speak up and say “that’s not right” or “I’m having a bad day”?

Do you have a model for your leadership that is by its nature collaborative and engaging across all social groups, stakeholders and perspectives (Skill 6)?

Why am I asking these questions? Because when I first read that WEF article and saw that list, my reaction was.. that’s what we (Advance) do! We work closely with individuals and teams, we listen actively to what the needs of individuals and teams are and help shape better leadership, team and operating environments which are psychologically safe, and where cognitive diversity is encouraged as a means to drive innovation and learning.

So, if the answer to any of my previous questions is “no” or “not sure”, get in touch and let’s have a chat about what you might want to do to change that to a “yes”, I think we can help.

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