5 ways to swim, not sink, as part of a ‘liquid workforce’ | World Economic Forum

By Matt Dallisson, 12/12/2019

Companies are going to be demanding different competencies, and we need to be ready to meet this demand. I visualize the idea of the liquid workforce as an immense moving ocean. One day, we may have a great job and be enjoying a warm tropical area. However, strong currents may move us quickly from being in a stable position to new waters where our abilities are no longer as relevant, and the water is freezing cold. How do we stay where we want to be? How do we swim?

Nowadays, more than ever, we need to reinvent ourselves during our careers. It is challenging but essential to move from one role to a new one in a natural way. No matter your age or area of expertise, knowledge may become quickly obsolete. So how do you manage to be the right talent at the right time?

1. Understand at every moment where you are in the ocean. What is your best way to swim? The question is no longer what is your current role (for example, project manager), but which skills you have and where can these bring you. (It could be leadership, negotiation, scheduling, communication or risk management.)

3. Set your direction. Where do you want to go? What skill gaps do you currently have? You are only going to thrive in the new future if you are a lifelong learner. Make a conscious plan on how to develop new skills that keep you competitive. To take project management as an example, you may want to take agile and Scrum (an agile methodology) trainings.

And lastly, most importantly: enjoy the swim. As job roles are fluid and changing, you have the chance to experiment and switch careers more easily. As a project manager, this could mean not only the chance to reinvent yourself in an agile role, but you can also consider new digital emerging roles that need your skills. It is an opportunity to find your purpose, test new waters and unlock your potential in a different area.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” My four-year old daughter cheered “a unicorn!” I was about to correct her and suggest examples of real-life jobs. But then I realised: who am I to guess if those professions will still be there when she is my age. They may be as likely as a unicorn. So I explained to her that she could be whatever she wants, if she learns how to swim.

This content was originally published here.