Skill Sets for Success in the New Economy.

I presented a series of lectures last week to students, faculty, and community leaders at Daemen College in Amherst, NY. I can’t remember when I’ve had such a great time with so many wonderful people, especially the students.

I presented on topics such as how growth and change influence organizational culture, how and why so many executive leaders have so many lapses of integrity, and why a balance of experiential and academic instruction is so important to today’s students, who are preparing to transition into tomorrow’s workplace.

Regarding the latter topic, I believe there are three important understandings that today’s students must embrace if they are to achieve realistic career goals.

First, they must understand what it means to add value! It’s no longer enough to just get a good job that supports a good living, perform at an average or above level, and expect to sustain that job for an indefinite period of time. There is more organizational restructuring going on than at any time in our history because the consumer has changed the supply equation. They are no longer just demanding product, they are demanding sustainable value and service with the product. They are no longer going to pay exhorbitant prices for average outcomes and organizations are responding by becoming more efficient. How? By doing more with less! What this means to potential employees is that they have to be able to be more flexible and transitionary between responsibilities and processes; something that employees in the past have not been required to do.

Second, students must understand the importance of being able to “critically think” on the job rather than just “do.” Sustainability is no longer just about maintaining a specific place in the business model; it’s now going to be about continual improvement of the entire business model. They have to understand all of that model rather than just a specific part.

Finally, students must understand the importance of being able to interact and articulate! Employees in the future are going to be managed more closely than in the past.

Truth be Told, those who can connect to the business more personally and proactively by creating clear and concise written communication and who can articulate clearly and concisely with confidence will have a competitive advantage in the acceleration of career objectives.