The pursuit of mastery

Mastery, once a sought-after attribute, is falling out of favour, according to the 2016 World Economic Forum report, and is slowly clearing the field for employees who can:

  • Have a diverse set of skills.
  • Can display the mental agility to switch between tasks.
  • Are able to pivot towards a new problem or activity.
  • Can take on a variety of roles at a short notice.

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The era of problem-solving generalists

From an era of specialized workers having expertise in one particular activity, the professional world has slowly moved towards problem-solving generalists. Workers are asked to don different hats and do more with fewer resources, and without specialized training.

HR consulting firms see the rise of hybrid jobs when two or more positions are combined to be performed by one individual.

With the value of true expertise in serious decline, and the economy evolving towards a different set of requirements from employees, the impact on college education, career paths, worker safety, employability and even the nature of work is going to be profound.

The personality traits of employees seen in many new organizations:

  1. Fluid Intelligence: The raw processing power that combines working memory with a dynamic kind of intelligence, mostly found in youngsters.
  2. Conscientiousness: Trustworthy, compassionate, people, who are high on emotional quotients.
  3. Openness To The New: People who are less focused on doing a particular thing in the right way, and more towards trying to do the right thing. This is also termed as ‘distractibility’.

The most sought after skill in educational and professional circles, a person who can work in a single task with complete tenacity and focus, blocking any distractions. The skill is valued in stable environments where rigid adherence to routine is a good thing.

When rules, roles and conditions rapidly change, grit gives way to ‘psychological hardiness’ where one tends to see all experiences as interesting, useful and meaningful, along with a high level of self-confidence.

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RELATED IDEAS

It  refers to the probability of a specific event occurring. Chances are good that whatever you're worried about isn't likely to actually happen.

6

IDEAS

  • Inspired by the German V-2 rocket weapon in World War II, many new rocket models were made by Russia and the U.S., as military technology was sought after in the arms race that followed.
  • Many American rockets were initially intercontinental ballistic missiles.
  • Liquified hydrogen is the preferred substance in modern rockets and those which have to work without air use oxidizers to help with the required oxygen in the system.
  • Some newer rockets are electric and use charged ions as thrusters by creating an electric field.

The idea that we need everyone on board before taking action in the workplace prevents teams from shifting from 'discussion' to 'doing.'

'Doing' is often framed in terms of proving and performing. But if we frame 'doing' in terms of improving and learning, people will be less inclined to hold back and would be more comfortable to try something new.

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