I’m fascinated by cultural trends and generational shifts. Will knows this, and brought home this highly quotable line from a recent conference he attended.
The topic was the future workplace. While it would be foolish to take one proclamation from a single presenter on a conference stage as gospel, I think it’s an interesting theory, and worth exploring.
The future belongs to the super-techies.
We need dreamers, but we also need do-ers: skilled workers who can bring ideas to life. Coding and design work are in high demand these days, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon—especially for the specialized, high-skill work that’s difficult to outsource.
If you (like me) couldn’t code your way out of a cardboard box, take heart: being able to put technology to use is almost as useful as being able to design it yourself. (Phew.)
The future belongs to the conscientious.
Conscientiousness is largely innate, though it can be cultivated to some degree. We would all do well to cultivate a bit more of it, because numerous academic studies show it to be a top predictor of positive outcomes in all facets of life
Conscientious people are good at getting things done. They are reliable and persistent. They plan purposefully, and follow through. Conscientious people live longer and are happier at work.
Innovation takes a good bit of dreaming, but somebody has to give those ideas legs. The conscientious will be the ones to do it.
The future belongs to the thick-skinned.
This is the trait that is most evident to me, and the one that comes the hardest.
Innovation is hard, and is inevitably linked with failure. Those who seek change make themselves vulnerable to questions, criticism, and outright contempt.
Because our world is moving online, this means innovators are subjected to censure in that same public, unfiltered sphere.
Most of us are vulnerable to critic’s math, the formula that says 1 insult + any number of compliments = 1 insult. I certainly am. This makes having an appropriately thick skin even more important.
The solution is simple, if not easy: keep your head down and do the work. The future belongs to those who do.