Shh, don’t tell other guest speakers that you know: The most important professional business and career skill you can posses today isn’t one commonly taught in an auditorium, classroom or corporate training scenario. That’s because the single most important job talent any individual management executive or student can possess in the 21st century is, quite simply, the ability to learn, grow and acquire new skills.
With many jobs now lasting roughly 3-4 years on average (that is, if you’re not in a rapidly-changing industry such as technology, telecommunications or software), it’s no longer enough to be a specialist in a field. You need breadth as well as depth – giving rise to a new breed of working professional who’s a subject matter expert in select areas, but also boasts talents, skills and connections that translate well across a wide range of industries, scenarios and businesses.
Perplexed? Think of such individuals’ skill set as a T-shaped diagram. One may have extensive experience in the finance and accounting field for example, but thanks to the time spent leading a team of software developers within their organization, they may also enjoy extensive project management, leadership and planning abilities as well. As jobs, industries, and trends shift, all boast the capability to serve them well in a variety of roles – not simply within the financial industry. Such flexibility provides a bulwark against constant change and upheaval: These talents are in demand across a range of businesses and sectors.
As we explain in the following video, part of a guest speaker series we created for our friends at Tulsa Community College and Northeastern State University, it pays to always be learning, growing and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Want to get ahead in today’s business world? Stay in constant motion, and make a point of constant reinvention: You never know when the wheels of progress will turn everything you’ve worked so hard to build upside down – and maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.