Once upon a time, in the land of work, there lived a people who were comfortable and secure. They had good education and advanced degrees. They were celebrated and adored for their long-term dedication to their companies and crafts. This fairy tale life guaranteed the people would live happily ever after.
Then one day, the people of the kingdom realized that wizards had come upon the scene and conjured up all kinds of trickery like artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, smart systems and other mythical and magical things that changed the way that work worked. It was like a spell had been cast over the land and nothing was the same any more. So, when skills lose their significance, jobs become obsolete, age becomes an issue no matter if you’re young or old, what’s a mere mortal to do?
How about a revolution?
According to The World Economic Forum we are today at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Their research has found that by 2020, “more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to jobs today.” Overall, social skills and particularly, Emotional Intelligence (EI ) — will be in higher demand across the board. Furthermore, the folks who use their EI to proactively and strategically manage change, will be rich and shall prosper.
Academics will feed your IQ. If it’s EI you need (and you do) I suggest you take another path.
Many thought leaders, companies and business schools still view strategic reasoning as a high-level executive function of the brain and tactical thought as an unrelated, lower-level activity. But using functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), it has been determined that the two kinds of thinking are linked in an important way: They both draw considerably on EI and social-emotional reasoning. Schools can teach the theory of strategic thinking and problem solving, but strategic thought entails at least as much emotional intelligence as it does IQ. The most effective strategic thinkers use the parts of the brain linked with emotion and intuition. Acute common sense plays a huge role too.
Strategic thinking, linked with emotional intelligence, stresses the ability to visualize what could be – not what is, as well as a day-to-day strategic approach to issues and challenges to helping others, to maximize teamwork and relationship building. These are skills developed through doing, not studying.
Remember Chicken Little? The dude gets hit on the head by an acorn and proclaims the sky is falling. He sets off to tell the King and along the way he meets various other animals who buy into his tale of doom and gloom and join him on his trek. In the process, they meet a sly fox who leads them to its den.
Seems as though Mr. Little had some leadership skills to get the others to follow him, but what a happier-ever after ending it would have been, if only he had tapped into his EQ. He could have acknowledged these external events but then strategically reasoned, “even if this may be evidence the sky is falling, I can take responsibility for changing that outcome”.
My take on the moral of this story: Don’t “chicken out” from really managing the times the “sky might be falling.” With a little EI, Little and his friends might have enlisted the help of Jack and his beanstalk to climb up into the clouds to fix the problem. They may have needed a robotic or smart system or two for assistance, but without the plan and the right people, the tools alone would be a mere fantasy fix.
Jeannette Kraar is president/CEO of Performance Management International, ahighly acclaimed business consultant, trainer, speaker and author.
Columnist series is sponsored by weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.
Earlier this year, the AARP Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to weVENTURE to conduct Work for [email protected]+℠ workshops in Central Florida. This initiative is designed to help older adults assess opportunities for self-employment, build skills, and connect with resources that will enable them to create self-generated income. For more information, please visit aarpfoundation.org/workforyourself.