I graduated at a time when University programs for data analysis, cloud computing, drone operation, social media management and driverless car engineering didn’t exist. Since then, the quantum of change in digital and cloud solutions has surpassed all technological changes since the birth of man. In my last article, Preparing the Workforce for Digital Disruption with Learning 2.0, we talked about a “learnability” skill and how it will help businesses leaders ride this digital wave and develop high-demand skills. As technology rapidly evolves, so will the skills the workforce needs to master in order to remain relevant and equipped for the future of business.
Today, success at work is determined by how well people can adapt to changes and the willingness to own their career trajectory. That puts the focus on learnability – the desire and the ability to grow and adapt to new circumstances and challenges in the career journey. -Forbes
Our first post on the subject of ‘learnability’ covered the impact of digital disruption within the workforce from the organizational point of view. This post aims to discuss the significance of “learnability” from the perspective of the workforce, beginning with an understanding of the factors in play when road mapping a personal learning plan.
Disrupt your mindset
“Digital disruption” is a big buzzword in the business market today and has become rather intimidating as new technologies emerge. Easy to understand since the word disruption is usually used in negative connotation. That said, there’s no denying the fact that the onslaught of these radical challenges brings a wave of opportunities for those who dare to seize them. Let us not walk blindfolded into this promising future and the plethora of prospects it brings to us all.
David Smith, vice president at Gartner, speaking at the 2018 Gartner Symposium/IT Expo said “Nobody is unassailable. Even the disruptors can be disrupted." Instead of praying to be unaffected, let’s use this moment to unleash the creative potential we’ve locked up for years, thanks to our complacent nature. Let’s not confront but embrace change. As Darwin said, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” In our case, adaptable to learn.
Most people stop their learning once they are out of academic studies and rarely take another session or read another book. We find the sweet spot in our careers and resist moving out of our comfort zone. We tend to underestimate our minds. We fear the possibility of not being able to learn something new. In order to evolve with changing employer needs, you must fight that workplace complacency and use these changes as a catalyst to positively impact your personal learning strategy.
Disrupt your conventional wisdom
Usually the greatest challenge to learning something new in the workplace is unlearning. Unlearn technologies, processes, paradigms, communication styles etc. Perhaps because this is a conscious effort. The first step is to identify the ideas and assumptions that confine you, acknowledge that these concepts unknowingly feed your resistance to change and then make a deliberate effort to let go of them. You must choose between embracing the inherent discomfort of change or losing relevancy and value in the digital era.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”- Alvin Toffler, Future Shock
Disrupt your work lifecycle
In her book Stop Playing Safe, Margie Warrell says “Your ability to adapt to change and proactively make changes in your career is what will make a crucial difference to where you find yourself even just five years from now." The top 10 most in-demand jobs today didn’t even exist 10 years ago. The central theme is to stay relevant, be engaged and continually grow. Because when we choose to disrupt our own thoughts and processes, we cannot be disrupted by market changes.
As a first step, you should focus efforts on your present role and how you can upskill to increase productivity or performance in your current assignments. However, it is good to keep in mind that what got us here, may not get us there- we must also develop a growth mindset. As you continue in your current assignments, you should:
- Always keep a tab on the trends that will reshape your industry in the coming years.
- Be open-minded and accepting of these coming changes.
- Be willing to unlearn and relearn to stay relevant.
The next step is to capitalize on those learnings by demonstrating the flexibility, willpower and courage to try out new things, in tandem with organizational objectives. Challenge the status quo to fuel the spirit of innovation. Find channels where you can apply your learnings to transform ideas into initiatives like POCs and prototypes and share your findings with the community etc.
“Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future.” Brian Tracy
For the workforce, the key to riding this wave of disruption ultimately boils down to only one skill- learning how to learn. So, get out there and get to learning so you can take charge of your destiny!
Valorem strives to be a market leader in the enterprise digital transformation space by placing a strong emphasis on always moving forward to exceed and anticipate changing customer needs through agility and innovation. From Immersive Experiences to AI and Machine Learning, our global experts push the boundaries of technology to help businesses of today forge an intelligent enterprise that better prepared for the disruptions of tomorrow. Ready to make the next step in your career or have a digital project that needs a kick start? Get in Touch!