How to Stay Relevant in a Busy World


A client of mine was describing a hotel front desk employee he had recently dealt with. “She was competent, of course, but she couldn’t engage very well with the customer who just came in.”

Then, of course, she wasn’t competent, was she?

It doesn’t take a genius to see that competence is no longer about our ability to press specific buttons in a particular sequence.
But this isn’t very clear to a lot of organisations, and you can’t blame them. For decades competence was about carrying out the right step in the process at the right time. Content knowledge, compliance and the ability to work “according to the process” was mostly what we looked for in employees.

But we live in a time of unprecedented Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA) these days, and content knowledge, compliance and the “ability to work according to the process” have taken a backseat.

The Institute for the Future (IFTF) has been producing its annual 10-year forecast for nearly 40 years. Their Future Work Skills 2020 report looks at the critical skills, abilities and competencies that the workforce of 2020 is going to need in response to the radical changes sweeping our planet.

While some are more obvious than others, all of these ‘future-skills’ depend on your ability to draw on your deep drivers; the innate capacities you were born with, but who might have to be brought back to your attention. If you’ve ever been in one of my programs you might recognise some of these Deep Drivers.

Here’s the IFTF list (click to zoom)

Here’s the point: to stay relevant in these VUCA times, it requires a deeper understanding of ourselves and how human beings function, not merely content knowledge & compliance.