Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

SURVIVE OR THRIVE? HOW TO RESKILL YOUR TEAM

Monica H. Kang, Founder and CEO, InnovatorsBox®
Originally published in: WE USA
WE USA presents May’s From the Experts Column 

Technology has radically changed the way we live. I had my first cellphone when I was in college. My nephew in elementary school just got his second tablet. The way we work is changing too. As innovators, you may have a knack for embracing change, but how are you preparing your whole team? The World Economic Forum predicts that in two years 1.3 billion jobs will change and over 42% of what we do will become obsolete. If you are not radically and intentionally changing the way you work and train people, your team will not be ready.

So, where do you start? Reading articles and watching inspirational talks is one thing; it’s another to successfully reskill your team for the future. As a culture and leadership expert, I recommend the following:

1. Embed learning opportunities within office routines

Lack creativity? Allocate five minutes of your weekly meeting time to share ideas, articles and lessons learned. Need to improve writing skills? Facilitate a weekly discussion on great email examples and strong quotes from articles as a way to challenge your staff to rethink how they communicate. The key is not to isolate skill learning — as in in a classroom — but to make it practical and fun.

2. Hold multiple, mini initiatives instead of one big annual event

Humans are creatures of habit. Changing our behaviors and thinking processes takes more than an hour of motivation talk. Make learning resources available and initiate frequently to permit people to take proactive steps — instead of seeing learning as a passive annual check mark. Weekly coaching conversations or monthly workshops on culture are fluid and faster ways to also assess how people are growing or when they are feeling stuck. We help clients utilize both an annual event as a kick-start and mini, frequent events throughout the year to build trust and consistent learning opportunities. If you truly want to help people reskill or show you are committed to a topic, taking action once a year is not enough.

3. Build and offer programs that include personal and professional development

Want your team to be more tech-savvy? Great, but are they also learning how to collaborate with respect, be thoughtful communicators and be conscious of their biases? In our eagerness to equip people with tools, we forget to equip them with human skills that are essential. People need strong self-awareness, empathy, creativity and emotional intelligence to collaborate. Managers should know how to lead teams and recognize who feels discouraged and how to support them. Executives shouldn’t just focus on raising revenue but should also understand why the best people love to stay in your company. When we strive to be better human beings, we’ll also understand how to better work across culture, generations, personalities and uncertainties!

In the end, how you invest in people will define how you survive or thrive. Do they see your office as a place to grow and feel safe to share ideas? You already know the answer. The good news is you can always improve. A machine will never be able to replicate being human. Leaders create a workplace that celebrates being human.

Change is coming — whether you are ready or not.

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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