There is a lot of discussion around the future of work, and with the growth of technology, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence and robotics, what jobs for us humans will look like in the future.
According to the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, socio-economic and demographic factors are all combining to create a “perfect storm” of business model change, for all industries. With change comes disruption and opportunities; with new types of jobs being created whilst others are changed or replaced altogether.
I found the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Future of Jobs Report a thought-provoking read; how will my work and that of my clients change, and what jobs that don’t exist today will become available for my school age niece and nephew in the future?
For those not yet in the workforce, like my niece and nephew, the idea of limitless opportunities in newly emerging job categories is exciting, for those of us already in the workforce it means change and disruption and potentially re-skilling; exciting or daunting depending on your situation and mindset.
As jobs become increasingly augmented by technology, the jobs that are being created are those that focus on human skills: critical thinking, listening, creativity, emotional intelligence, communication, negotiating and decision making.
The Future of Jobs Report, which surveyed just under 2,500 companies across a variety of industry types, sizes and countries, found that more than 1/3 of all jobs across organisations are expected to require complex problem-solving skills. And whilst complex problem solving skills may become less important in industries that are heavily technical today, industries such as professional services are expected to become more complex.
The report predicts this complex problem solving skill to be the number one skill in 2020, followed by critical thinking, creativity, people management and coordinating with others.
Given the changing nature of work, cognitive flexibility – the ability to be flexible to deal with new and unexpected changes – is perhaps not a surprising addition to the 2020 list.
What I find particularly interesting, is how these skill sets reflect the areas I work on today with my clients when we’re focused on improving the quality of account management, and the services and value delivered to their clients.
What drives better account management outcomes for clients, are those skills that reflect the human skills; social skills such as building rapport, active listening, critical thinking and creativity, to understand a client’s needs, determine the best approach and deliver the right solution.
One of the positive takeaways for me is that for organisations selling professional services, or complex solutions, focusing their business and employee skillsets on real human contact with their clients, provides exciting opportunities for growth.
For those working in sales and account management, focusing on developing those core cognitive skills that enable you to learn quickly, understand, and even anticipate, client needs and then translate these into valuable product or service offerings is vital both now, and into the future.
A working world where the focus is on being more human? That must be a good thing, right?
I am passionate about great account management, if you’d like to read more take a look at my Successful Account Management blog series. And if you’d like to discuss how I can help you with your account management offering contact me here.
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