Which skills will be valuable in 5 years time?
Posted April 16, 2009on:
Day One at Xoozya (cont’d)
Mary, the HR Body put her cheerful face around the door and said “Lunch”. Yep, I was keen. There is just so much that I can take in at one time and the Dashboard at Xoozya is pretty comprehensive.
She dangled a key. “Bring valuables,” she said, “but leave everything else as it is. We’ll lock the door”.
The canteen wasn’t far and I could hear the buzz as we approached. It was just as hyped. Salads, fruit and hot food and the refreshing absence of the cloying smell of old fat and overcooked vegetables. Sweet.
Mary, ever the professional, asked nimbly whether I ate fish. I do, and she said, “I’ll get two fish pies – they’re good. You grab some salads. I’d like plain lettuce and tomato and pear or some fruit. Water OK to drink?” I caught up with her at the cashier where she introduced me as noobe and I put my food on my tab. We grabbed napkins and cutlery and she led the way to a corner table. “We’ll join Peter Wainwright, the HR Director. You remember him, of course?”
As we approached, Peter rose, smiled warmly, and said “Hello, Jo. Welcome to Xoozya! Here’s to a prosperous and happy alliance.”
We fumbled around, as one does, arranging trays and getting comfortable and he asked about my morning. I told him it was clear I have some thinking to do to set up a communication system that leaves me informed but not overwhelmed with information.
He nodded and added: “Well, take your time. Every minute that you spend in exploration now pays off handsomely in comfort and organization later. We also want you to base your judgments on what matters. You’ve joined us with your skills, as has everyone else here,” he said, waiving his hand at the crowded canteen.
Future capability and value
“There are skills that are essential to what you do and there are skills that will change with technological change.”
- “We want you to jot down the skills that are absolutely essential to what you do. These we will nurture and respect.”
- “Then there are skills that are going to change significantly over the next five to ten years. We want those on a separate list because those require significant investment in time and energy”.
- “And there are skills that we don’t use anymore. Those we give a respectful burial.” He smiled. “When we have identified a skill or process that we no longer use, we get an occupational psychologist to document it and we make a display for our skills museum. Then we have a little wake,” he chuckled, “to see it off. It’s quite cathartic.”
Nostalgia for skills & practices of the past
“So which skill in the museum is best-loved?” I asked. “Which grave attracts the most flowers?”
“Ah, we hadn’t thought of doing that. Good idea. We should put the skills up on the intranet with the choice of . . . flowers or . . . a good kick . . . or a big ? mark for ‘who was this!’. And see what we get back!”
My induction so far
Well, I obviously have some thinking to do. It is only lunchtime and I have to think about
Which skills are utterly essential to your work?
And which will change so fundamentally in the next five years that you will need to retrain?
And which skills deserve a respectful burial?
Which are you happy to see go and which will you miss?
And if you are enjoying this series, please do feel free to join in!
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And PS, if you are new to this blog, Xoozya is an utterly fictitious organization. This series began on the spur of the moment as I started to explored the principles of games design and Ned Lawrence of Church of Ned mentioned how much time people put into designing their avatars, or online identities. Xoozya is an attempt to imagine what an organization would look, sound and feel like if it were run along lines recommended by contemporary management theorists.
And PPS Ned is an online writing coach and is available for hire.
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