My boys have their entire professional life ahead of them. As a dad, advising them on their career choices is a big responsibility. Our conversations gravitate towards skillsets rather than role definitions.
Before the advent of the internet and mobile phones powered with the knowledge of the world on your palm, the well-read person, the person with relevant experience in the industry had the edge over others. Today free information and knowledge have equaled that playing field.
Next, the individual that was willing to hustle, work harder than most then became the differentiating factor. That skill is still important, though productivity tools and automation is starting to narrow the gap between the diligent and the easy riders.
So what skill sets are needed to continue differentiating oneself?
Creativity! Creative people are the next differentiators in the business world.
Productivity is about squeezing all the value out of existing resources. Efficiency will happen, but after a point, there is nothing left to squeeze. Creativity, on the other hand, is about discovering new ways to do things, connecting disparate dots, creating new ways of doing things. Consumer preference is moving towards uniqueness and creative alternatives to everyday purchase decisions. Customization is expected over generic solutions.
So if tools make productivity increasingly abundant and commoditized, then we must shift our investment and focus on creativity. This will require new leadership skills, where the contribution will not be measured by traditional business metrics, and new measurement tools need to be used.
So as my sons plan their future, skills like storytelling, imagination, persuasion, debate, visually expression - creative skills like these will be essential. Leaders with these skills will play a more significant role in creating tomorrow's world.
So if you don't believe my theory, at the very least know, chasing creativity brings joy, self-discovery, creative expression, and journeys unexplored. That would be a great way to live regardless.