There is no escaping it, the world is getting more complicated. People will tell you that a long time ago someone could learn a trade and earn money that way for the rest of his or her life. In most cases, you wouldn’t need anyone else to perform the job that you’d chosen as a profession, team dependency only limited to a linear relationship of input and output. You basically did your job, and all was well in the world. You might have to go on the occasional refresher course and certification, but you knew exactly what was expected from you. That was the case until we hit this millennium.
Magic Words And Changing Demand
We seem to be obsessed with vague and equally magic words such “collaborative working” and “life-long learning” nowadays, which, thinking back to that one-trade-one-job past, seems a bit over-the-top, but might not be that odd after all. If you follow the logic “where there’s smoke …” and considering how many companies, large and small, are actively trying to upskill their employees on these type of topics, one could reasonably conclude that this is now a necessity. Looking at company training nowadays, especially at the senior level, is all about how to get people to work together more effectively and going from a directive approach to full-on coaching.
And how could it not be the case? As products and services evolve, from simple and straightforward things to something ‘better, faster and stronger,’ the people who make these products and services are faced with increasingly sophisticated technology and processes to make it all work. Take video rentals, for example, that no longer exists. Where that industry used to be a combination of having physical products and a ledger as the core of the business, now it’s all about streaming video at scale. Do you think the management team of both companies would have had the same people with the same skill set?
Collaboration Is Key
As we build better products and services, the final output of business gets more complex, no longer the work of a single individual, but the combination of many. This is why ‘learning a trade’ has been replaced by concepts such as ‘the ability to work in a team’ and ‘the ability to continuously learn new things.’ That’s why you might see on job descriptions the following sought after skill: “to be able to work in ambiguity” and the requirement to have used task management software in the UK.
And as this is now bedding into today’s workforce (we probably can’t remember a time when this wasn’t the case), there might be something around the corner next. As we embrace AI more and more into our lives and business processes, we are increasingly on the knife’s edge of not using ‘the machine’ enough or too much. We all know the answer is somewhere in the middle, but we are lacking the skill set to balance this correctly. So as soon as we have uncovered the secret to the perfect collaboration of humans amongst themselves, we are faced with the challenge of mastering the collaboration of human and machine.