Category Archives: Strategy

People Skills Are In

You might have noticed in the news, on social media, or in your talking with various people that the job market is changing.

Blog Post - People Skills

You might have heard that a lot of jobs are going to disappear. Particularly routine manual and routine cognitive jobs.

However, it is not all doom and gloom, for one of skills that will experience increasing demand is the skill of dealing with people.

Think of sales managers, supervisors, project managers, team leaders and so on. Where the skills of directing, controlling and planning are central to success. These are the management and supervisory jobs. And with these jobs the critical component of success is the ability to manage and lead people.

One example of this is the replacing of checkout staff with self-serve machines at major grocery stores. While the routine checkout jobs are cut back, staff with people skills are needed all the more. For these self-service machine supervisors are having to deal with more complexity (they are watching over multiple machines) and having more complex interactions with people (ie, item lookups, ensuring all products are scanned, ensuring queues aren’t increasing, etc).

In this changing job market, whilst some “standard” jobs are being lost, ones with a different mix of skills will be in demand.

For the student in your life, it is advisable to maintain a clear-eyed consideration of the changing job opportunities.

 

For more of what I have to offer, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, review my IT Strategy blog, subscribe to my YouTube channel, or buy my ‘Jobs. Future. You.’ workbook.

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Preparing for the change that you know is coming.

One of the constants in life, as the 5th Century BC Greek philosopher Heroclitus opined, is change. While this paraphrase of his “no man can step into the same river twice” maxim was true in his day, it is ever more relevant in 2017.

Reflect on some of the change that we have witnessed over the last few decades: the ubiquity of social media, the power of computing that we carry around with us and the cost-effectiveness of DNA testing. We’ve seen the rise of self checkouts and driverless cars. It seems we can make anything we like with 3D printers.

All of these improvements and new ways of doing things. These inventions and innovations that are impacting organisations of all types.

Whether this impact is felt in the way staff approach their job, or the speed at which new competitors arise, or the way technology can bring improvements to your business. Your organisation will continue to be affected by what is going on around you.

So, how do you prepare for what may lie ahead? How do you ensure long term success.

How do you see the risks and opportunities that lie over the horizon.

And how do you prepare yourself to either mitigate these risks or to exploit the opportunities?

In two words – use strategic thinking.

Rather than using standard strategic planning or business planning you need to dig deeper to see what is really happening.

Rather than using environmental scanning or SWOT analysis to see what is happening around you, you need to ask questions about why the change is happening.

And its called strategic thinking for a reason, because it involves thinking!

Consider say cloud computing. All of your competitors and others that you know are shifting to using these platforms. Why?

A simple answer would be that it is cheaper. It is more efficient to just buy the software to run the business rather than all the computers and staff that are needed to run the software.

But dig deeper to find a more profound answer. Ask yourself some questions about the drivers of change.

And these “drivers of change” questions about, in this case, cloud computing, may well lead to the following:

  • Is it because cloud computing can be more responsive to helping businesses respond to competitive pressures?
  • Are competitive pressures mounting because products can be brought to market quicker?
  • Can products be brought to market quicker because of more efficient market research mechanisms?

Taking that last question about efficient market feedback, what risks and opportunities are there for you?

Do you have personnel risks – that you don’t have the right people to implement the market feedback you get?

Do you have systems risks – that you don’t have the right processes in place to gather timely market feedback?

Do you have R&D risks- that you don’t have a culture that embraces innovation and bringing to market new products?

Strategic thinking is the new game in town.

Through strategic thinking you can discover, and prepare for, the risks and opportunities that are over the horizon.

 

For more of what I have to offer, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT Strategy blog, or subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Vision statements and critical thinking

Vision statements and critical thinking.

Vision statements are a vital component of any successful organisation. But they are difficult to get right.

For a vision statement is the guide post for any organisation, whether a for, or not-for profit. The vision statement is the reference point for all decisions. It provides that overarching theme, if you will, around which all those the support the organisation can channel their effort. Those words say “this is what we are going to be”.

It is indeed, the “nailing of your colours to the mast”.

Now, lets apply the art of critical thinking to the development of a vision statement. For while this set of words is comprised of three components, the composition of these words and their subsequent impact must be thought through.

Briefly, the three components of a vision statement are: 1. your values; 2. your stakeholders;  and 3. your envisioned future state.

Regarding values, what do you stand for? What do you hold dear? What do you want to be known for? Regarding stakeholders, who are they? Who are you serving? Who is being affected by your decisions? And thirdly, that envisioned future state. What does success look like? What are you continually striving for?

Let’s layer in critical thinking to this vision statement discussion.

The ability to think critically is crucial, it is a competitive advantage, it is something that is uniquely human. It will keep you in employment for years to come. But what is it? Is it just taking the time to mull over something? Yes, and no. While there are 8 components to critical thinking I’ll use four of them to help us with our vision statement development.

Four aspects of critical thinking:

  1. purpose
  2. question
  3. assumptions
  4. inferences

And each of these aspects have a set of questions.

First, regarding purpose. The questions are: “what exactly are you trying to accomplish?”, “What exactly is the point of the process?”

Second, regarding question. The questions are: “is the problem or issue stated clearly?”, “Is everybody on the same page?”

Third, regarding assumptions. The questions are: “on what information are you basing your discussions?”, “What aspects do you consider as a given?”

Finally, regarding inferences. The questions are: “what conclusions will be drawn from your words?”, “What meaning will be created?”

So, in thinking about the values component of your vision statement. What is the true purpose of your organisation? Does everybody believe the same thing about your organisation?

With respect to your stakeholders. What are you assuming about them? What is their purpose in being one of your stakeholders?

Finally, when it comes your future state. How will you know you are on the right track? What meaning will be created regarding your aims from the words you choose to include in your vision statement?

So you can see critical thinking does take effort. It does take time.

I believe that Einstein’s words hold true here:  “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

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For more of what I have to offer, visit Dellium Advisory, follow on Twitter, connect using LinkedIn, or review my IT Strategy blog, or subscribe to my YouTube channel .