Daniel H. Pink has written a terrific book called “A Whole New Mind – Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future”. I recommend it to anyone who is concerned about job survival in this new age.
Daniel postulates that the world has evolved through three distinct ages over the last 150 years – The Agricultural Age, The Industrial Age, and The Information Age. More importantly, he speculates we are entering what he calls The Conceptual Age. One which favors “Right Brainers” (creators and empathizers) over the traditional “Left Brain Skills” (analysts).
We have arrived at the new Conceptual Age, due to three major forces which have essentially changed the rules of competition. These forces are Game changers on a global scale, which Daniel describes as Abundance (excess of available choices), Asia (dramatically lower cost), and Automation (machine driven productivity). For job survival in this new age, Daniel argues, you must ask yourself three questions:
- Are you doing something that cannot be done cheaper by someone overseas?
- Are you doing something that cannot be done faster by a computer?
- Are you offering something that is in demand (differentiating) in an age of abundance?
If you answer yes to these three questions, then you are safe (for some time). Answer No, and you are in deep trouble.
I have argued on this blog (“Lifetime Employment – Apply Here”) that only employees and companies capable of changing faster than customer choices are changing will survive. The fact is, low cost labor (Asia), and massive productivity improvements (Automation) have created far more choices (Abundance). And, the information age has enlightened consumers as to the availability of these abundant choices. The result is a trend in which job survival demands more differentiation. Products have to stand out, they must have soul (“Are you obsessed about Quality? Do your products have soul?”). And, just like a product, which you are, new skills are required for you to stand out.
Read the book to find out which skills Daniel Pink believes will be more important for job survival in the future!