Zifundise http://zifundise.com Training and Consulting Mon, 11 May 2020 06:33:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.4 Leadership Letter 4 http://zifundise.com/leadership-letter-4/ http://zifundise.com/leadership-letter-4/#respond Mon, 11 May 2020 06:32:00 +0000 http://zifundise.com/?p=4772 Leadership Letter 4                     The Leader of the Future

“Leadership is changing before our very eyes. What made a great leader 50 years ago or 25 years ago, will not likely make a great leader 10 years from now.”  Tim Ryan, the Chairman of PwC in the U.S.

Today it is a challenging time to be a leader and it is not going to get any easier. Jacob Morgan is a 4 times best-selling author, speaker, and futurist, who’s work on leadership I follow closely. Will the leader of 2030 be that different than the leader of today, and if so how? These were two questions Jacob Morgan wanted to answer in his new book, The Future Leader. He personally interviewed over 140 CEOs around the world from companies like Oracle, Verizon, Kaiser, Unilever, MasterCard, Best Buy, and many others. Through these interviews it became clear that the leaders of tomorrow would look different, and six specific trends emerged that are shaping future leaders. Let’s explore the six trends briefly.

  1. Artificial intelligence and technology – There are terms and concepts that for many of us are still just vague terms, that are becoming mainstream in business and are changing the way business operates. Augmented and virtual reality, digital communication, smart phones in the hands of every employee, blockchain, 3D printing, robotics, and tech skills. Leaders will need to figure out how these things impact their businesses? How do we prepare our future leaders for these realities? These are no longer IT or HR issues. As leaders we need to own the digital and automation debate.
  • Pace of change – Life and work evolves literally over night and being comfortable with disruption must be the makeup of the future leader. Workplace design and practises, a multiple generational workforce, Artificial Intelligence, and globalisation are just some of the factors driving this increased pace of change. How do we keep up and how do we adapt?
  • Purpose – People today care about purpose and meaning. They want to do what matters to them. As a leader do you know and understand your own purpose? What gives your life and work meaning? How do you help your team discover their own sense of purpose? How does that align with the what you do in your business?
  • New talent landscape – Competition for the right talent is fierce. It is impossible to predict exactly the skills that will be needed even five years from now, so workers and organisations need to be ready to adapt. Talent’ no longer means the same as ten years ago. Upskilling and retraining will become the norm. Diversity and inclusiveness will be critical to a healthy workplace. Leaders must understand how this talent landscape is shifting and how to bring in the best and brightest talent who will enable the businesses of the future to thrive and succeed.
  • Morality, ethics, and transparency – Ethics determines the rules and laws of how we act within the workplace. Morality today is subjective, so people want to know and see what their leaders stand for. Leaders can no longer play in the grey areas. They must fight for social causes and for what they believe in. Employees want leaders to be transparent about what they care about, what they believe in, what is happening in the business and how the organisation is doing. This is huge in earning the trust and loyalty of your people.
  • Globalization – In the modern world our currency, our location, and the cultures we subscribe to are starting to matter less and less. The entire world is becoming like one big city. Information and ideas are all going around the world at the ‘speed of click’. As a leader how do you lead in this new kind of world?

Jacob Morgan also teamed up with Linkedin to survey almost 14,000 employees around the world and they found that only 21% of mid-level leaders and 29% of senior executives are aware of these trends and are taking actions to prepare for them.

Unlearning what enabled leaders to lead successfully in the past and retraining to be a relevant and successful leader are two critical behaviour leaders are going to have to embrace if they are serious about leading successful organisations in the future. This is a challenge to all of us.

Please feel free to share your insights with us about future leadership challenges. If you would want a consultation with us to explore how to lead in these turbulent times, please email me at antony@zifundise.com

Best wishes

Antony

   * Antony Jennings is Managing Partner of Zifundise Training and Consulting, a people development company based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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Leadership Letter 3 http://zifundise.com/leadership-letter-3/ http://zifundise.com/leadership-letter-3/#respond Mon, 11 May 2020 06:30:51 +0000 http://zifundise.com/?p=4770 Leadership Letter 3                    Disrupters – The Netflix Story

“Those who disrupt their industries change consumer behaviour, alter economics, and transform lives.”                                                                                        Heather Simmons

According to The Economist, the idea of disruptive innovation is the most influential business idea of the 21st century. So, what is a disrupter? To be a disrupter is to create a product, service, or way of doing things which displaces the existing market leaders and eventually replaces them at the helm of the sector. Disruptors are generally entrepreneurs, outsiders, and idealists rather than industry insiders or market specialists. Disruptors are often linked to the fast-moving technology industry but can be found in almost any area of business.

The Netflix versus Blockbuster Video saga is the ultimate example of technology disrupting a marketplace. When Netflix launched in 1997, Blockbuster was the undisputed champion of the video rental industry. Between 1985 and 1992, the brick-and-mortar rental chain grew from its first location (in Dallas, Texas) to more than 2,800 locations around the world. Two years later, Viacom paid $8.4 billion to acquire Blockbuster.

By the time Netflix showed up on the scene they realized that it would be easier to fight alongside Blockbuster than against them. In 2000 Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings approached Blockbuster’s then CEO, John Antioco, with a merger proposal: Hastings wanted $50 million for Netflix. And as part of the deal, the Netflix team would run Blockbuster’s online brand. Of course, that deal never materialized.

Flash forward to 2010, and Blockbuster was filing for bankruptcy, having incurred more than $1 billion in losses on the year. Their valuation at the time? $24 million. For comparison, today, Netflix is valued at around R125 billion — a massive increase from their valuation back in 2000.

So, as business leaders, what can we learn from this? For years, Blockbuster dominated the video rental space. But at some point, they lost sight of what business they were really in. Instead of focusing on delivering incredible and affordable entertainment to their customers, Blockbuster put more stock in the model they were comfortable using.

Secondly, be willing to adapt. As Forbes Magazine reported, “The irony is that Blockbuster failed because its leadership had built a well-oiled operational machine. It was a very tight network that could execute with extreme efficiency, but poorly suited to let in new information.” Technologies improve. Industries change. In order to grow, you need to keep a pulse on the ever-evolving needs and preferences of your customers so you can make changes to your model accordingly.

Thirdly, the customer must feel valued. Blockbuster’s model had a weakness that wasn’t clear at the time.  It earned an enormous amount of money ($200 million p.a.) by charging its customers late fees.  The ugly truth was that the company’s profits were highly dependent on penalizing its patrons. Once John Antioco became convinced that Netflix was a threat, he used his authority as CEO to discontinue the late fees that annoyed customers and invested heavily into a digital platform to ensure the brand’s future. When Antioco was fired by the board, Jim Keyes was named CEO and immediately reversed Antioco’s changes in order to increase profitability.  Blockbuster went bankrupt five years later.

Today, there are only two Blockbuster locations left — down from 9,000 when they were in their prime. Meanwhile, the once fledgling video rental start-up Netflix now boasts 167 million paying members.

So, the next time you think to yourself, “The way we do things now will never change,” remember the Netflix vs. Blockbuster saga and how an entire industry can become upended in just a few years. Key question: Are you a disruptor in your industry? If not, who is? How do you prevent your company from being the next Blockbuster Video? What would enable you to be the next Netflix?

Please feel free to share your insights with us about other disruptive stories. If you would want a consultation with us to explore how to lead in these turbulent times, please email me at antony@zifundise.com

Best wishes

Antony

   * Antony Jennings is Managing Partner of Zifundise Training and Consulting, a people development company based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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Moments of Truth Blog Post 3 http://zifundise.com/moments-of-truth-blog-post-3/ http://zifundise.com/moments-of-truth-blog-post-3/#respond Fri, 31 Jan 2020 06:34:29 +0000 http://zifundise.com/?p=2451 Learning to Soar Again

“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.”                                                                                Carl Sandburg

The majestic Andean Condor is one of the world’s largest flying birds and is considered to be a sacred animal for the Incas. Andean condors can weigh up to 15 kilograms. These birds prefer to live in windy areas, where they can glide on air currents with little effort.

I recently watched a video of a young male condor that had been found badly wounded and starving, with broken wings, in Catamarca, northern Argentina, near the Andes range where they belong. He was taken care of by a Wild Animal Care Foundation, and 6 months later (August 2019) he was ready to be set free again at the spot where he had been found. This was an exciting moment and there were about thirty people on the mountain, from the Foundation and other bird-lovers, who had come to see this huge bird released back into the wild.

As this young bird was gently placed on the mountain ledge, people watched with bated breath, eager to see this majestic bird take to the heavens and the freedom it was born for. But the response wasn’t quite what was expected. The Condor gently flapped its wings and seemed to hesitantly survey the scene, familiarising itself with its environment. It flapped its huge wings a bit more, almost like trying to get a feel again of what they were designed to do. For a full 2 minutes it stood on the edge of the cliff, wings outspread, not moving. Maybe he was soaking in the environment, possible doubting that he could soar like he used to. Had the wings fully healed? Were they strong enough to support this flight? Were the memories of its recent pain and brokenness getting in the way?  Above this scene, three or four other condors were gliding the wind currents, almost urging this young male to join them.

After a full 4 minutes, it eventually flapped its wings twice and launched out into the air. Immediately the wind currents caught his wings and he began to soar, to the sound of elated cheers and whoops of joy from the Care Foundation team and other onlookers. At last, after 6 months of rehabilitation, this huge, beautiful bird was restored to a life of freedom, soaring the heights of the Andes mountain air currents. His first flight wasn’t very long, and he soon landed on a nearby rock, but he now knew he was back, and that soaring was his destiny. Watch this scene by clicking on the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8FX_mtY2Ss .

As I reflected on what I had just witnessed, I could see a parallel in the lives of us as ordinary people. Well-known author, Malcolm Gladwell said, “A lot of what is most beautiful about the world arises from struggle.”  There is not one of us who doesn’t know what struggle, brokenness and pain feels like. Many of us have had wonderful dreams of success and happiness, and yet, just like in the case of the broken young condor, life throws out adversity curveballs in the familiar names of failure, brokenness, pain, disappointment and disillusionment. The dreams of success then seem so far removed from our lives that within no time they are buried deep in our unfulfilled past.

Yet we are born to dream, we are born to soar. P.S. Scott said, “There’s no force in this world greater than the power of a dream.” Take away that desire for a better future and a vision of what could be, and life becomes drudgery and a continual quest for survival. For many of us, dreaming again after setbacks and disappointments can be a bridge too far. We settle for what is, rather than reach for what could be. Its just too hard. Yet I believe we can take some simple lessons from the broken, young condor and we can be able to soar again.

Firstly, brokenness needs a time for healing and restoration. Life is hard enough at the best of times, let alone when we are fragile, weak and confidence is low. Dan Allender said, “The work of restoration cannot begin until a problem is fully faced.”

Secondly, just like the Condor we need a team of healers and restorers, people who believe in us and want the best for us. Jim Rohn said, “My mentor said, ‘Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!’”  Oprah Winfrey said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”

Thirdly, learn to desire the dream again. Howard Ikemoto, artist and art professor told this story: “When my daughter was seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, ‘You mean they forget?’” Yes, we do forget to dream too. The pressure of survival every day can push the vision of a better future into a dusty, cobwebbed corner of our minds. Give yourself permission to soar again!

Finally, take action. Do something. Just like that young condor eventually launched itself into the wind currents of the Andes mountains, we need to launch out into unknown territory, where dreams come to life. That is the only way to turn a life of survival into a life of fulfilment and joy. Follow the advice of Michelle Obama who said, “Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?”

Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights with us about this fascinating topic. If you are interested in talking to a mentor or coach about how you can learn to soar again, please contact me on  antony@zifundise.com.

Best wishes

Antony

* Antony Jennings is Managing Partner of Zifundise Training and Consulting, a people development company based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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Moments of Truth Blog Post 1 http://zifundise.com/moments-of-truth-blog-post-1/ http://zifundise.com/moments-of-truth-blog-post-1/#respond Fri, 31 Jan 2020 06:33:43 +0000 http://zifundise.com/?p=2449 Self-Reflection

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”                            Dr Seuss

This week I spent time at my desk reflecting on the last twelve months. It has been a challenging year. More challenging than most. Is it possible that there have been lessons learnt and that there are new, better decisions to be made?

There is a wise quote, accredited to various people, that says, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is bitterest.” Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice.”

As I close out the year and start to reflect on the new year, I have actively made time to do point number one in the quote – spend time in reflection. Jen, the blog writer on a website called Aim Happy, had some insightful thoughts on self-reflection. She says:

“Introspection is the opposite of self-rejection. The loving gaze we grant ourselves will free us and lift everyone. It can be painful sometimes, though, when we start looking within for creative solutions to our problems. Shining the light on the disowned parts of our shadow is not easy, but there are no short cuts to any place worth going.

Reflection is a gift for your spirit: it allows deeper parts of who you are to come forth and be discovered, and it also enables you to create yourself anew. You begin the process seeking to find out who you are, and then you discover that you play a role in the creation of who you want to be.

Positive self-reflection is a balance of who you see yourself as now, and who you see beyond this current situation.”

Margaret J. Wheatley said, “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”

The work of Japanese painter Hokusai spanned many years before his death in 1849 at age 89. But toward the end of his life, the artist dismissed as nothing all the work he had done before age 50. It was only after he reached 70 that he felt he was turning out anything worthy of note. On his deathbed Hokusai lamented, “If heaven had granted me five more years, I could have become a real painter.”

I have time now, not just to reflect, but also to document my goals for next year, both personal and business, and I will face the new year with a degree of preparedness and optimism. An article by online business guru, Myrko Thum, simply packages the process I am going through, and I thought that his self-reflection process would be valuable for you too:

1. Get into the right state and environment. Itis helpful to have all our attention on the reflection process, so find a time and a place where you will not have distractions and other issues crying for your attention. Quieting the noise in our lives for a moment, is critical to being able hear when the silence speaks.

2. Ask the right questions. Start by asking yourself the questions that are on your mind; the questions that express inner conflict. Good questions are usually the ones that bring your topic to the point by asking “How can I …”.

Some examples of questions could look like this:

“How can I make more time for what is important to me?”

“How can I get more energy?”

“How do I capitalise on that opportunity I am facing?”

“How do I solve this critical problem?”

3. Be 100% truthful with yourself. This can be the hardest part of the process. We tend to be good at being soft on ourselves and not digging deep enough to find real solutions. This truth may be unpleasant or even scary, but it is the foundation on which you build for the future.

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” William Shakespeare said, “This above all; to thine own self be true.” Quite simply, nothing will change until you are completely honest with yourself.

4. Attain clarity. Analyse the situation by writing down your thoughts and coming to a solution. That’s the whole idea of reflecting; getting to the core of the matter and by reaching an “Aha-Moment”. This is the realization of a new quality, an insight that came out of the reflection process, a solution you had not seen before, that gives you a better perspective on the issue at hand.

5. Make a decision and commit to it. The realization of new insights alone will have a very little impact. It will require action. Maybe it means you must stop something, or to intensify something. Maybe if requires a change of direction or an investment of time in a new opportunity. Whatever decisions you have made require implementation. Arnold Glasow said, “An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” St. Augustine said, “God provides the wind, but man must raise the sails.”

So, even though the need for a break may be evident for you, include some time for self-reflection. The new year will bring its own challenges and will demand growth in all of us. Anthony Robbins said, “There is a powerful driving force inside every human being that, once unleashed, can make any vision, dream, or desire a reality.” Prepare well for the new year and unlock a new reality that will challenge you but could well catapult you forward towards the life you want for yourself.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights with us about your experience of self-reflection.

Best wishes

Antony

* Antony Jennings is Managing Partner of Zifundise Training and Consulting, a people development company based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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Leadership Letter 2 http://zifundise.com/leadership-letter-2/ http://zifundise.com/leadership-letter-2/#respond Fri, 31 Jan 2020 06:32:50 +0000 http://zifundise.com/?p=2447 Everybody Matters

I have always believed that you learn leadership from leaders and one of those outstanding leaders to me is Bob Chapman. Chapman is Chairman and CEO of St. Louis based BarryWehmiller, a $2.5 billion global manufacturing business with 11,000 team members. Recently he was named as the #3 CEO in the world in an Inc. magazine article, Bob Chapman is very intentional about using his platform as a business leader to build a better world. 

His story is well recorded in in Simon Sinek’s book, ‘Leaders Eat Last’. I am repeating one of Chapman’s stories from his personal website https://www.trulyhumanleadership.com/ in his own words.

Bob speaking: Last week I wrote about the evolution of our cultural vision statement, “We measure success by the way we touch the lives of people” and how it has become the moral compass that guides us in our decision making. This was never more apparent than during the economic downturn of 2008. When the crisis hit our nation’s economy in September of that year, we took stock of our business units and had the sense that we would be okay.

Five months later, we faced a 40% drop in new equipment orders.  I was poised to react as I always had–-by laying off team members in the affected areas to ‘right size’ in response to the decreased orders.  After all, we had a responsibility to preserve the financial health of the business. With several large new orders being cancelled, shouldn’t we simply lay off some of our manufacturing associates?

But things were different now.

Our Guiding Principles of Leadership offered a new view of what success looked like, and it wasn’t simply about preserving the financial performance of the business.  When called to consider the appropriate reaction to this dramatic drop in revenue in light of how it touches lives, our Guiding Principles offered the guidance to think, feel and respond as our vision called us to.

My heightened awareness of stewardship to those under my care gave me a clear sense of purpose and clarity through which to view the situation.  I thought to myself: We’re a family at Barry-Wehmiller so we need to act like one. What would a responsible family do in this crisis?

A loving family would share the burden.

Rather than watching a few of our colleagues’ face devastation, we decided that our reaction would be one of shared sacrifice.  Why not have everyone endure a little pain so that no one had to endure a lot of pain? We created a furlough (leave) program whereby every person in the organization took four weeks of unpaid time off.  We also suspended our 401K match. (pension) We ramped up our internal communication efforts, regularly sharing the state of the business, why we were doing what we were doing, and reassuring team members that our future was secure.

The reaction was extraordinary.  Some team members offered to take double furloughs, stepping up to “take the time” for their co-workers who could not afford the loss of pay.  Many associates welcomed the time off, scheduling it so they could spend the summer home with children or participate in special volunteer projects.

Our business emerged from the downturn well ahead of the curve and, once orders picked back up, our performance increased faster than ever before. Why? Because our actions during a time of great distress didn’t damage the cultural fabric of the company, like layoffs so often do, but rather strengthened it. Our decision to use furloughs to save jobs made our associates proud and profoundly touched by the realization that they worked for a company that truly cared about them. Even though they had lost out on one-twelfth of their income, they embraced the furlough program because it meant saving someone else’s job. A shared sacrifice that, in the end, didn’t seem like such a sacrifice.

Since the furloughs, we have experienced three successive record years.  In recognition of all that our team members gave up, we reinstated the 401K match and then “paid them back” what they would have received had we not suspended the match during the downturn. The best reward of all, however, was what we received from our team members as a result of our response to the economic downturn. Because we walked our talk, they rewarded us with something truly priceless: their trust.

“A team is not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.” Simon Sinek

“Good leaders make you feel safe.” Simon Sinek

You can watch the documentary ‘Everybody Matters’ the Barry-Wehmiller Story by following the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=or6YoXfHWSE .

Please feel free to share your insights with us about other great modern-day leaders. If you would want a consultation with us to explore how to lead in these turbulent times, please email me at antony@zifundise.com

Best wishes

Antony

   * Antony Jennings is Managing Partner of Zifundise Training and Consulting, a people development company based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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Moments of Truth Blog Post 2 http://zifundise.com/moments-of-truth-blog-post-2/ http://zifundise.com/moments-of-truth-blog-post-2/#respond Fri, 31 Jan 2020 06:21:12 +0000 http://zifundise.com/?p=2445 Future-proof Your Career

The 4th Industrial Revolution is a time in our history that has crept up on us very quickly. It didn’t come without warning, but the speed at which it has taken root in the workplace is astounding. For some people it is a scary thing, for others, those who have prepared for it, it is an exciting time. Yet there are those of us who are still blissfully unaware of the impact of 4IR on us in SA in particular and a rude awakening is around the corner.

I want to use the eye-opening research of Accenture Consulting’s Paper called Creating South Africa’s Future Workforce as a platform to challenge our thinking around future job security and successful entrepreneurship.

Digital technology brings efficiencies, but it also brings disruption and radically new ways of engaging and doing business. For countries and organisations that are ready for digital and have a workforce that is geared to ‘run with the machine’, digital has the potential to uncover new value, create and redesign more jobs than those being lost and boost growth significantly. However, for countries like South Africa that are less prepared, digital may bring more job losses than gains, which will negatively impact the socio-economic wellbeing of individuals and the economy.

The specially commissioned research from Accenture indicates that 35 percent of all jobs in South Africa (almost 5.7 million jobs) are currently at risk of total automation. With a fragile economy and growing unemployment, especially youth unemployment, further job losses in South Africa could have a crippling effect.

Which jobs are at risk? Both white and blue-collar jobs are at risk. The more predictable and repetitive the activities that make up the task, the more likely it is to be replicated by machines and automated. The jobs of clerks, cashiers, tellers, construction, mining and maintenance workers all fall into this category. The more intensive the use of human-like skills to perform a task, the less likely it is to be automated. Jobs with less than 25 percent of risk of automation will comfortably ‘run with the machine’. Hard-to-automate jobs include tasks like influencing people, teaching people, programming, real-time discussions, advising people, negotiating and cooperating with co-workers.

While the steady march of progress inevitably spells more and more machine augmentation, allowing humans to use their time, energy and creativity differently, we are ill prepared for its consequences.

To rise to this challenge, South Africa will need to recalibrate its economy and its workforce for digital, developing an environment in which humans and machines work together to engage with customers, and create entirely new products, services and markets. This will drive demand and consumption within the economy, boosting growth.

Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock said, “The illiterate of the future will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” 

Human beings have an amazing capacity to learn new skills and adapt to new environments. This is true not only in early life, but throughout our lives. As the nature of work evolves, employees and entrepreneurs will need to adapt their mix of skills and knowledge to embrace new challenges and stay relevant.

Through all their research, Accenture interviewed experts from a wide variety of fields, from neuroscience and corporate learning to education and workforce development. They then used these insights to help identify and categorise both the universal skill families and the underlying cognitive capabilities needed for inclusion in the digital economy. They call the resulting findings ‘New Skills Now,’ and I want to briefly explore the six critical skills families that are identified in the research.

The six New Skills Now families comprise the cognitive abilities, aptitudes and dispositions needed to stay relevant and thrive in the fast-evolving digital economy, as well as specialised knowledge or craft skills for a specific market, industry or setting. These are capabilities that any individual can learn at any age and hone over time. A dynamic mix of all six skills families is critical to securing a first job or starting a business, and will remain critical to retaining that job, growing that business or navigating to the next opportunity.

  1. Learn to Earn

Foundational skills remain critical to learning and earning. Learn to Earn skills include literacy, numeracy and digital literacy—the minimum competencies required to locate, evaluate, create, transact and share content digitally. It also includes basic employability skills, such as conduct and work protocols (e.g., learning to maintain eye contact in an interview, listening and time management), and entrepreneurship.

  • Build Tech Know-How

Technology and data skills are no longer solely the role of experts; jobs requiring these skills will grow by 30 percent in the next seven years. Build Tech Know-How skills include the ability to use digital devices and platforms to analyse, explore and share data, and to work effectively alongside machine intelligence. So, alongside the soft skills required, we all need to become more tech-savvy.

  • Apply We’Q

As work becomes increasingly collaborative and task-based, social and relationship-building skills are gaining importance. Apply We’Q skills include teamwork, collaboration, communication, social and emotional intelligence, and the ability to manage others. It also includes cognitive functions such as self-regulation, which allows individuals to understand, control and adapt their emotions and behaviours in a team environment.

  • Create and Solve

As work boundaries become more fluid and challenges more complex, the concept of problem solving is changing. It requires thinking unconventionally, gathering ideas from diverse sources and applying design thinking. Create and Solve skills include creative problem solving, critical thinking, reason and logic to assess and analyse problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset. This skills family also includes cognitive functions such as decision-making and the ability to plan and execute a goal.

  • Cultivate a Growth Mindset

In the digital economy, work will no longer be restricted to one employer, job or team. People will need to constantly learn new skills to remain relevant in the workforce of the future, and a growth mindset will be critical to success. Cultivate a Growth Mindset skills include the ability to cultivate curiosity, openness, a growth mindset and the capacity for lifelong learning. Underpinned by the cognitive function of flexibility, these skills are building blocks for personal resilience and the ability to cope with and adapt to change.

  • Specialise for Work

The need for specialised, timely and market-relevant skills is essential for any type of work or entrepreneurial venture. However, as jobs and opportunities continue to shift in the digital economy, the specialised skills required to get ahead in those areas will continue to change. Specialise for Work skills are not static or fixed and will need to continuously change based on context, industry, market demand and type of work.

The Accenture Research correlates well with the work done by Bellevue University in Omaha, Nebraska, who identified seven critical soft skills they called Power skills. The identified skills are decision-making, problem-solving, judgement, communication, collaboration, self-management and values clarification. No longer are these skills ‘nice to have’ but they become the foundation that we build our future careers on.

In closing, the message to you and I is clear. There is no longer anything called job-security and business safety. We all have to adapt and develop the skills required to not just survive but thrive in the 4IR modern workplace. Life-long learning has to be a part of our lives. We do have the ability to be able to future-proof our careers, if we are willing to take on board the observations and recommendations of this critical research. The future does not need to be bleak. It can be the start of a new exciting journey!

Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights with us about this fascinating topic. If you are interested in assessing your own 4IR readiness please go to http://zifundise.com/PEAind/

And do the assessment for yourself.

Best wishes

Antony

   * Antony Jennings is Managing Partner of Zifundise Training and Consulting, a people development company based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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Leadership Letter 1 http://zifundise.com/leadership-letter-1/ http://zifundise.com/leadership-letter-1/#respond Fri, 31 Jan 2020 06:19:06 +0000 http://zifundise.com/?p=2443 Future-proof Your Organization

Throughout the past few years, numerous terms have emerged in the popular business press and academic literature that refer to an increasing inability to grasp the world and deal with the things happening around us. Examples include uncertainty, turbulence, rapid change, dynamism, disruption, complexity, hyper-competition, high-velocity markets and flux. The term “VUCA” is now commonly used to embrace the dimensions of this ‘uncontrollable’ environment. VUCA is an acronym that stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous; and it reflects accurately the turbulence that the 4th Industrial Revolution has brought with it.

The 4th Industrial Revolution is a time in our history that has crept up on us very quickly. It didn’t come without warning, but the speed at which it has taken root in the workplace is astounding. For some leaders it is a scary thing, for others, those who have prepared for it, it is an exciting time. Yet there are those of us who are still blissfully unaware of the impact of 4IR on our businesses in SA, and a rude awakening is around the corner.

I want to use the eye-opening research of Accenture Consulting’s Paper called Creating South Africa’s Future Workforce as a platform to challenge our thinking around future job security and successful entrepreneurship.

Digital technology brings efficiencies, but it also brings disruption and radically new ways of engaging and doing business. For countries and organisations that are ready to embrace digital technology and have a workforce that is geared to ‘run with the machine’, digital has the potential to:

  • Uncover new value,
  • Create and redesign more jobs than those being lost and
  • Boost growth significantly.

However, for countries like South Africa that are less prepared, digital may bring more job losses than gains, which will negatively impact the socio-economic wellbeing of individuals and the economy. The commissioned research from Accenture indicates that 35 percent of all jobs in South Africa (almost 5.7 million jobs) are currently at risk of total automation. With a fragile economy and growing unemployment, especially youth unemployment, further job losses in South Africa could have a crippling effect.

The loss of jobs creates a huge problem. Machines do not consume things. Machines do not buy things. So, while machines can replace human work, they do not drive purchasing power and consumption or GDP as humans do. Humans work. Humans get paid. Humans spend. Humans consume. Society progresses. Humans don’t work. Don’t get paid, can’t spend or consume (much). Society regresses.

To rise to this challenge, South Africa will need to recalibrate its economy and its workforce for digital, developing an environment in which humans and machines work together to engage with customers, and create entirely new products, services and markets. This will drive demand and consumption within the economy, boosting growth.

A picture is emerging of the actions needed to shape and prepare the workforce along the entire talent value chain. Leaders need to:

• Review and adapt their leadership style.

• Accelerate reskilling people

• Pivot the workforce to areas that create new forms of value

• Strengthen the talent pipeline from its source

Alvin Toffler, author of Future Shock said, “The illiterate of the future will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” 

Human beings have an amazing capacity to learn new skills and adapt to new environments. This is true not only in early life, but throughout our lives. As the nature of work evolves, employees and entrepreneurs will need to adapt their mix of skills and knowledge to embrace new challenges and stay relevant.

The Accenture research shows that if South Africa can double the pace at which its workforce acquires skills relevant for human-machine collaboration, it can reduce the number of jobs at risk from 20 percent (3.5 million jobs) in 2025 to just 14 percent (2.5 million jobs). But for such an intervention to be effective, we must start now.

As digital continues to dominate, South Africa’s ability to secure economic access for all its people—giving its workforce the skills to participate in the digital economy and earn—will determine its future trajectory.

Digital technologies will usher in a new economic era:

  • they overcome the physical limitations of capital and labour,
  • exposing new sources of value and growth,
  • increasing efficiency and
  • driving competitiveness.

Without these technologies, companies will lose market share and be left behind, and economies will stagnate.

The opportunity for South Africa is considerable. Accenture Research shows that one major digital technology, artificial intelligence (AI), has the potential to boost labour productivity in countries by up to 40 percent by 2035 as innovative technologies enable people to make better use of their time. By embedding AI and making it a factor of production, this research indicates that South Africa could potentially double the size of its economy five years earlier.

The good news: these actions will enable leaders to build a workforce that is highly engaged with digital and to reshape their organisations and society at large in a way that drives real business value—labour productivity, talent acquisition and retention, as well as innovation and creativity. To achieve this, leaders need to be responsive, responsible and response-abled.

The bad news: the clock is ticking. The time to act is now.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights with us about this fascinating topic. If you would want a consultation with us to explore how to lead in this VUCA environment, please email me at antony@zifundise.com

Best wishes

Antony

   * Antony Jennings is Managing Partner of Zifundise Training and Consulting, a people development company based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

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