There's one skill you must learn. Now.
And there's a reason you never learned it.
Congratulations! You Did It!
You Survived a Global Pandemic. Overnight you made the most awesome, amazing, and profound shift in the way you work in the history of work.
Employers are now calling you a "hybrid”. It means you continue to split your time between working at home and the office. You created the Future of Work.
But there’s a catch. Companies are saying hybrids will need a unique combination of soft skills and technical knowledge to succeed. And the one soft skill you need the most? It's the one you probably never learned. It's called "Cognitive Flexibility".
Cognitive flexibility is not a new skill.
Cognitive flexibility is the skill that helps you change your mind, jump between different ideas and concepts, change your strategy when the situation changes, adopt new behavior when the old approach is no longer working. It's about being able to quickly unlearn, learn, adopt, adapt, and grow. It means that what you know is today will no longer be useful tomorrow. It's been the skill that has led to most of the great innovations, inventions, and works of art. It's the skill that shows up as creativity, imagination, and curiosity.
Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana. Bill Gates
It's what I believe is the definition of real learning. The ability to adopt and adapt what you know and can do under an everchanging variety of circumstances.
You never learned it at home or in church or at school. What you learned there was a skill I call "cognitive rigidity". Follow the rules and regulations. Do it the same way. Do not change. No need to do things differently then before. It was also unfortunately the way most businesses were managed before the pandemic and the birth of the hybrid workforce.
In this knowledge Economy businesses must do things differently. They will be managing minds and will depend on your cognitive flexibility. The very rate of change has changed, and you will need this new skill to survive. The work you are doing today will not be the same work you'll do a year or less from now. On the average, you will change jobs - even within the same company - every 3-4 years.
We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate) Ray Kurzweil in ‘The Law of Accelerating Returns".
Can you learn this new skill?
Learning this new skill and making it a habit is not easy. It takes practice. We tend to learn and get complacent about what we know. We do the same thing over and over. Start simple. Next time you go to work or to the store, take a new route. Try something new and creative. Take something you've done the same way and do it differently. Think outside the box. Draw outside the lines. Start to strengthen your cognitive flexibility skill.
And then start to use it at work. It's the skill employers want the most. It leads to innovation, new ideas and approaches, better ways of doing things. It helps change direction when a new situation arises, or a new strategy is needed to replace the old one. Just because it's not broken doesn't mean you can't find a better way of doing it. Cognitive flexibility means go ahead and fix it.
Here's a tip: Show some cognitive flexibility on your resume. Be creative. Let employers see the creative things you do. Talk about the times you define a new sales strategy or managed a team in a new way. List the inventions and innovations you created. If you're a painter, musician, writer as a hobby, add it to the list.
And business must learn that hybrid workers need to be working in an Open Learning Environment. Being cognitively flexible and learning to do things in a new way means there will be mistakes. In an Open Learning Environment you're never punished when that happens but you learn from those mistakes.
In many ways, you already showed that your have the skill. As I said at the start, you changed the way we will work in the future. That already showed a lot of cognitive flexible skill.
As a thanks, return the tip for helping you become an outstanding hybrid with a small tip in return. Much appreciated from a pre-hybrid writer.