Let me ask you a question: how would you describe your job as an employee of a company? In fact, you may be surprised to know it’s no longer enough just to be a cog in the wheel. Increasingly, employees at all levels will be required to do much more than just implement the plans put in place at higher levels of a company. “I’m not sure…I was just following orders,” may be perceived as just another excuse in the world of work. By contrast, experts have identified the following competencies as crucial for success:

  • Information search such as environmental scanning
  • Conceptual flexibility: considering simultaneous alternatives
  • Interpersonal search: explores and understands the viewpoints of other people
  • Managing interactions: involves others and builds teams
  • Developmental orientation: helps others to develop.

In the new world, the skills required of employees are diverse and expanding on an ongoing and continuous basis. However, some of the basics remain:

  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Staffing
  • Directing
  • Coordinating
  • Reporting
  • Budgeting

In addition, employees will be expected to:

  • Manage on an international scale
  • Manage cultural diversity
  • Respond to multiple sources of authority
  • Combine a variety of team roles
  • Exercise the role of a leader
  • Act strategically
  • Utilize technology
  • Communicate externally
  • Establish, reinforce and develop values
  • Act responsibly
  • Distill complex flows of information
  • Manage across function
  • Manage their own careers
  • Manage personal and professional development

Thus, the list of skills and competencies now required of employees looks rather daunting. What adds fuel to the fire is that employees must manage now in an environment that is beset by radical change. In fact, managing change will be the great challenge of our times. There is unlikely to be any company or institution which will escape this trend. Thus, if you don’t learn how to manage change, well, it is likely that change will be forced upon you. Already, change is endemic in companies. In fact, almost 40 percent of the companies which comprised the Fortune 500 a decade ago no longer exist. Of the companies which comprised the Dow Jones Industrial index in 1900, only General Electric (GE) survives as a giant. And this is not just an American phenomenon. Rather, it is a world-wide phenomenon. According to one expert, there’s a transition underway: hierarchical company structures are moving to more empowered structures. Moreover, the new, younger CEOs are likely to be more comfortable and even receptive to such concepts. The manifestations of change can be briefly summarized as follows:

  • Technology: The information technology or IT revolution continues to make jobs quicker and less labor intensive than they were even five years ago.
  • Companies: New organizational structures are emerging. They lay stress on and enable speed of response.
  • Individuals people have to learn new skills. Plus, they need to adapt to an uncertain environment.
  • Society:The role of employment and companies in society is increasingly debated.
  • Consumers and markets: These are becoming more demanding and quickly changing.
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What do you think? Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not? Feel free to share some of your own experiences in the comments and thank you for your patronage.

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