Eight critical skills for the future: Part 2

Much like colonizing a new planet, we are just now coming to grips with the need for rules and order in the emerging digital information age. Here are five more critical skills that are currently being overlooked.

4.) Information Management – In 2008, Roger Bohn and James Short, two researchers at the University of California in San Diego did a study to determine the amount of information people have entering their brains on a daily basis.

In rough terms, 41 percent come from watching television, 27 percent – computers, 18 percent – radio, 9 percent – print media, 6 percent – telephone conversations, 4 percent – recorded music, and smaller amounts from movies, games, and other information sources.

As it turns out, the average American spends 11.8 hours every day consuming information. Many other countries are posting similar numbers. People today are being exposed to far more information than ever in the past.

How can we manage all this information better? How can we be smarter about the information we consume and the sources we’re getting it from?
Our ability to effectively manage our personal information inputs and outputs will greatly determine our ability to compete in the global talent marketplaces of the future.

5.) Opportunity Management – The average person that turns 30 years old in the U.S. today has worked 11 different jobs. I’m predicting that in just 10 years, the average person who turns 30 will have worked 200-300 different projects. Short work project will replace long-term employment for many.
Business is becoming very fluid in how it operates, and the driving force behind this liquefaction is a digital network that connects buyers with sellers faster and more efficiently than ever in the past.

Opportunities are springing to life all around us. Having an ability to find, select, and capitalize on opportunities will be a critical ingredient in how successful people run their lives in the future.

6.) Technology Management – New tools are entering our lives on a minute by minute basis. What should we be paying attention to, and what can we dismiss?

Our choice of technology defines who we are and our ability to function in an increasingly technology-dependant world. The tech-selection process has been largely relegated to tech insiders and key influencers with product manufacturers often playing a key role.

However, technology management goes far beyond hardware and software purchases. Both tend to evolve over time and the functionality is shifting on a daily basis with new apps giving us tools we never dreamed possible before. Our relationship with our personal technology will continue to be an ongoing challenge and improving skills in this area will be highly advantageous.

7.) Relationship Management – In a world immersed in social technology, we know lots of people, but what kind of relationship do we have with them? How do we qualify the value of those relationships?

As the size of a person’s social network increases, it becomes more difficult for someone to have meaningful conversations with each person in their network. Different rules apply to those we have strong ties with versus those who we maintain only a weak relationship with. The way relationships are managed in the digital age is changing, especially when it comes to marriage.

Contrary to the way traditionalist would have it, for most college-educated couples, living together is like a warm-up run before the marital marathon. They work out a few of the kinks and do a bit of house-training and eventually get married and have kids. Those without a college degree tend to do it the other way around – move in together, have kids and then aim for the altar.

Our understanding of the shifting nature of relationships will be one of our most critical skills to manage in the future.

8.) Legacy Management – How will future generation remember you? How will they perceive your successes and failures, your accomplishments and misguided efforts, and your generosity and perseverance?

While many still view inheritance as the primary way to leave a legacy, people now have the ability to manage the information trail they leave behind. In fact, they can very easily communicate with their own descendants who have not even been born yet.

The body of work we leave behind will become increasingly easy to preserve. So if we chose to let future generations know who we are and why we set out to achieve the things we did, we can do that today with photos, videos, and online documents. Future generations may even have the ability to preserve the essence of their personality and make interactive avatars that can speak directly to the questions and issues future generations will ask.

As all of us age, the notion of leaving a legacy becomes critically important, and furthering our skills in this area will serve us well.

Some Final Thoughts
In addition to what I view as the eight “new” skills are two traditional skills that need to be radically updated to mesh with the needs of today’s world.

1. Time Management
2. Money Management

Time management classes of the past are a poor fit for the incessant pace and demand of living digital, and money management takes on an entirely new dimension with the any-time any-place tools at our disposal.

This was not intended to be an all-inclusive list of skills for tomorrow. There will be many more that will be needed. My goal was to draw attention to eight of the most critical ones that currently seem to be overlooked today. But I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Let me know what I’m missing and where I may be off base. The ideas of the many are almost always greater than the ideas of the few.

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