Are We There Yet?

Who among us have not uttered these words as a child or for those who are parents heard them?  Usually in the context of a trip in an automobile, but perhaps now in our journey to the next . . .

Society is on a number of interconnected journeys.  Most visible is the Covid-19 transit (hopefully) out of the pandemic category.  Supply chain issues are very visible to the public as well.  More toilet paper anyone?

Not as conspicuous but perhaps in the long run more impactful is our collective trip to ‘Smart.”  We are finalizing our book, Smart Manufacturing: Integrating Transformational Technologies for Competitiveness and Sustainability, due out in 2022.  In it we discuss a full range of issues and the societal transformation that is occurring.

In one sense, this all began circa 2007 with the advent of the commercial smartphone.  How has our relationship with the phone changed since then.  Needless to say it has in a dramatic fashion in less than fifteen years.  A personal smart device that enables telephone calls in addition to a host of ever growing Apps.

There are some enterprise level smart firms, most notably in the tech sector, i.e., social media.  Imagine when 15 years from now ALL major organizations and their supply chain partners are fully smart?  Sounds like a good deal doesn’t it?  However!

There is risk associated with this transformation.  Notable recent examples include the Colonial Pipeline ransomware in May 2021 and the devastation caused to the East Coast of the US.  More recently, the October 2021 outage at Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram ostensively caused by a single internal issue.

These are scary, yet the most insidious will be the social cultural changes.  The very nature of jobs will change.  For example, we have already dipped our toe in the online video conferencing waters.  Many workers will remain remote indefinitely.  However, not everyone wants the isolation that comes from a home office.  They miss the human interaction and the gossip at the preverbal ‘water cooler.’

Also, consider this.  What Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) will you need in 5, 10 or 15 years to remain a viable employee?  By some accounts, up to 60 percent of the workforce will need to be reskilled or upskilled.  This is a huge number and this writer knows from personal experience that not all individual can or want to be re-purposed.

Moreover, most digitalization initiatives have failed to date.  The IT project track record has been poor for decades.

This suggests the road will be rocky for many, but not all.  As always, there will be winners and losers.  Both sectors, firms and even at the individual level.

Historically, once an individual graduated from school and got job/career path formal education ended.  Yes many go back to night school, test for credentials, i.e., CPA, PE etc.  Some professions require ongoing Continuing Professional Education (CPE).  Yet most do not.

It will be imperative at all levels, that we continuously re-invent ourselves throughout our careers.  The reality is–We Never Get There.  This is a lifelong journey.

What Are You Doing to Assure Relevancy Tomorrow?

For More Information

Please note, RRI does not endorse or advocate the links to any third-party materials.  They are provided for education and entertainment only.

Interested in Cross Cultural Engagement or DEI, check out our Cross Cultural Serious Game

We presented, Should Cross Cultural Serious Games Be Included in Your Diversity Program: Best Practices and Lessons Learned at the Online Conference, New Diversity Summit 2020 the week of September 14, 2020.

Contact the author for information on these and others subjects covered in the Critical Mass series.

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