How to Change Your Technology Mindset

Wendy Glavin — Glavin's Tech Talk  |

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Each year, companies like Gartner, PWC, Deloitte, Forrester, and publications including Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Forbes and others make predictions about the year’s technology trends.

For 2020, these include, AI (and AI-as-a-Service), 5G data networks, personalized and predictive medicine, computer vision, multi experience (virtual, augmented and mixed reality), blockchain technology, hyper automation (ML), robotics, the empowered edge, distributed cloud, digital ethics and privacy, autonomous things and more.

Despite technology’s entry into most B2B and B2C industry sectors, many people feel that technology is changing too fast and they can’t keep up. Technology underpins all other sectors of the global economy, but its advancement could be stalled by serious talent problems. Such deficits are already evident, and Korn Ferry research forecasts that by 2030 the labor-skills shortage will reach 4.3 million workers. This is equivalent to 59 times the number of employees of Alphabet [ (GOOGL)], Google’s parent company. While the digital revolution often seems unstoppable, it could be about to hit a wall.

Dispelling Hiring Myths

Too Old -- Reskilling at scale is a concern and priority for 80 percent of C-suite executives worldwide, according to a McKinsey survey. Reskilling significant portions of the workforce within the next 5-10 years will be required—tens of millions of mid-career, middle-age workers, particularly in advanced economies—with the development of soft skills a key element.

Outdated Credentials – People think that if they stopped working for a period of time, they’d no longer relevant in the workforce. If you're thinking this way, think instead about new ways to use your skills, and don’t discount what you’ve learned outside of work. For example, staying at home to raise your children teaches you about negotiation, compromise, multi-tasking, decision-making and other talents.

Don’t Discount Experience – Several years ago, a global Canadian organic consumer product goods company was looking to hire a marketing professional to build its presence in the US. One of my colleagues wanted to recommend me, but I didn’t think I had the experience. When I thought about my life skills, however, I remembered living in the south of France where organic farming and products are the norm. Years ago, I represented a candy company which today is the ninth largest in the country. Combined with my ability to speak French, I was hired. My relationship with the agency head in Montreal was a perfect fit. Now, we’re close colleagues and friends.

Adopt a Learning Mindset

In our fast-paced digital era, technology has changed the way we communicate, work, shop and live. To stay relevant, we need to be curious, resilient, agile and adaptable. After decades of research, Dr. Carol S. Dweck, PhD, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, proves this point in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dr. Dweck defines two ways of thinking—fixed and growth mindsets. People with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence is fixed, while people with a growth mindset believe abilities can be developed over time. As discussed in Forbes earlier this year by David Villa, Dr. Dweck posits that:

A growth mindset is a mindset that allows information to flow through. People who have a growth mindset tend to be more positive. They understand that intelligence can be developed and added to if needed. They embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for growth.

Those with growth mindsets know that effort is what will lead to learning, and will often learn from criticism from their peers. People with growth mindsets find stories of the success of others to be inspirational. All in all, those who have a growth mindset feel freer in life. They understand that they are in control of who they are as a person, and what they do in life.

The Importance of Soft Skills

While hard skills like data science, IT, AI, and automation are in-demand, research suggests that soft skills are equally important since machines can’t replace a human’s social and emotional intelligence. Clearly, skilled talent exists. But, employers need to replace outdated hiring practices and look for people that have the needed skills to work in our ever-changing environment.

In fact, The World Economic Forum reports that you need the ten skills listed below to thrive in 2020:

  • Complex problem solving.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Creativity.
  • People management.
  • Coordinating with others.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Judgement and decision making.
  • Service orientation.
  • Negotiation.
  • Cognitive flexibility.

How to Cultivate Creativity

When people spend most of their career working in a particular industry sector, it becomes harder to think about doing things in a different way as familiarity sets in like cement for your mind. Adam Grant, PhD, renowned Wharton professor and one of the world’s 25 most influential management leaders, discusses this challenge of improving the world by championing novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity and buck outdated traditions.

In his book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Dr. Grant includes real-life stories such as an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said of Dr. Grant's book, “After launching hundreds of businesses—from airlines to trains, music to mobile, and now a space line—my biggest challenges and successes have come from convincing other people to see the world differently. Originals reveals how that can be done and will help you inspire creativity and change.”

Dr. Grant suggests how to get unstuck by re-combining new insights from different experiences, such as traveling, which helps fashion designers, and how artistic hobbies differentiate Nobel Prize-winning scientists. If we choose to think more broadly about our skills, background, experiences, relationships and interests, we will discover more about ourselves and how we can get involved in new paths.

Entrepreneurs and Startups

There are 30 million small businesses in the U.S. By 2020, there will be 43 million freelancers, and many people believe that entrepreneurship is more exciting than working for a corporation. In fact, 51 percent of the working population believes there are good opportunities for starting businesses, the first time that figure has risen above half. Perks include, being your own boss, flexibility, remote working options and a better work/life balance.

Contrary to popular belief, 60 percent of people who start small businesses are between the ages of 40 and 60, according to the 2019 Small Business Study by Guidant Financial which surveyed more that 2,700 small entrepreneurships in the U.S.

The pace of innovation is at an all-time high and the technologies being released have broader impacts than at any time in history. We are also at a crossroads for regulations as lawmakers grapple with technology for good vs. technology that can cause harm.

Technology plays a role in almost every industry today, but the level at which it has an impact varies. In the 2020s, technology will become further ingrained in almost every industry. The technologies listed above are being pursued by startups. Beyond Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs have created global movements for blockchain, data security and privacy, tech for social good, climate change, women’s health, STEM education and so much more.

There are many ways for you to get involved in advancing, changing or expanding your career choices. Hopefully, this article will make you feel more empowered. All it takes is research, reading, participating at events, networking and meeting new people and getting out of your comfort zone.

After all, as writer and futurist Alvin Toffler said “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

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Wendy Glavin is founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin Agency. Find out more at www.wendyglavin.com.

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Equities Contributor: Wendy Glavin

Source: Equities News

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer. The author of this article, or a firm that employs the author, is a holder of the following securities mentioned in this article : None

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