5 Critical Skills to Avoid Disruption

In my previous post, I discussed the secret to avoiding disruption. In this post, I’ll detail three critical skills that will make you far more valuable than any robot or automated machine.

Those that follow me appreciate how I help them think bigger and reach higher. They realize that by stretching their thinking they can do far more than they thought.

AI’s Disruptive Threat

You have read it before. AI and Automation will displace 40% of workers in the U.S. by 2030.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe it or not, millions of workers will be displaced. Sure more jobs will be created and you might get one of those jobs.

But why take the chance?

Here are five critical skills that will make you more valuable than a robot.
Each of these is extremely valuable, but I’ll present them in descending order to bring you to the most important one last.

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5. Think Like a Computer

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

That old saying proves to be great wisdom for the current and future world of work. The easiest way to beat a computer is to learn how to build and program a computer. There will be a number of jobs created to build and repair robots and automated technology. Get ahead of the game by learning that skill now. To make it easier, many community colleges now offer courses in programming and other tech skills. Some training programs even offer free courses. Check it out.

Organizations will need someone to build and fix their machines. Are you willing to be that person?

4. Develop Creativity

AI works by mapping patterns. The way to think beyond AI is to learn to be creative.

Let me guess what you are thinking. “I’m not an artist. I’m just not creative.” I have had those same thoughts. We get so used to following the prescribed solutions that we never develop our creative abilities. We tend to solve problems solve problems based on what we have seen before.

That needs to change unless you like being replaced by a machine.

Take an art class, learn a new language, or take a course on creative thinking or writing. You might also be doing something small such as taking a different way to work. Here is an idea, on your next day off, start driving in a strange area without GPS. See how you can find your way home. (Caution: Always be safe.) Whatever you do, try a different method. The point is to get out of your rut and try something new.

Consider all the times where leaders are frustrated because they can’t see beyond what has been. You will be valuable as a creative thinker.

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3. Be Compassionate

Machines have no feelings. They cannot feel for another and, therefore, are incapable of compassion. That means you have a built-in advantage.

Lee writes in AI Superpowers that the tech world of the future will need to be balanced with compassion. There will be a demand for those with the ability to connect emotionally with others.

My wife and I co-authored “The ROI of Compassion” where we detailed how it is the best business model and practice. Compassion engages team members to unleash the ultimate performance, production, and profits. It is the best tool in times of trauma and in everyday operations. To learn this skill and then become known for it will make you a better leader.

Compassion is more than empathy. Empathy is feeling with the other but compassion is coming alongside to help them alleviate their pain. In the world of displacement, many will be in pain and appreciate others who can make things better.

Imagine the potential when executives recognize your power to engage others in a way that alleviates problems. Every organization needs that ability.

2. Communicate Effectively

You know that a computer does what you tell it to do, not what you want it to do. A good example is the autocorrect. How many times have you been victimized by your phone or computer finishing your word with an embarrassing result?

Communication is creating shared meaning with another person. It is more than just getting your message across. Communication is appreciating the differences and working to connect so you and the other have a common understanding. That is a valuable skill in our world even when not threatened by technology. It will be even more valuable in the face of displacement.

We have known for several decades that those who can communicate effectively get hired and promoted quicker. That trend will continue in the age of technology expansion.

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1. Solve Problems

Customer service will be critical as machines are not very good at working outside the patterns. They are great at giving us FAQs but not for coming up with the answers to new problems.

Within this problem solving we need to learn how to learn in a new way. Much of our old learning was based on memorizing and repeating. It was learning a new formula and applying it. The real value of solving problems in the future is knowing the best of past best practices but being willing to suspend that and venture into creative approaches.

Build a reputation for being the one who solves difficult, persistent problems. Every organization needs that person.



Loren Murfield, Ph.D.

I work with leaders and organizations to think bigger and reach higher to find breakthrough success. This is a process that I can help you learn. One of the ways I help clients is by guiding them through my Disruptive Opportunity Challenge.  Begin the process today by contacting me.

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