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The Metaskills You Need to Thrive in the 21st Century - Thrive Global

Skills And Meta-Skills

Skills are temporary; meta-skills are permanent.

Learning a second language gives you a skill, a learned ability. A meta-skill, on the other hand, is your ability to learn new languages. Developing that meta-skill, makes it easier to learn a third or a fourth tongue.

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The Metaskills You Need to Thrive in the 21st Century - Thrive Global

The Metaskills You Need to Thrive in the 21st Century - Thrive Global

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-metaskills-you-need-to-thrive-in-the-21st-century/

thriveglobal.com

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Key Ideas

Meta-Skills

A meta-skill is a high order skill that allows you to engage with functional expertise more effectively

It magnifies and activates other skills and is a catalyst for learning and building new skills faster. 

Skills And Meta-Skills

Skills are temporary; meta-skills are permanent.

Learning a second language gives you a skill, a learned ability. A meta-skill, on the other hand, is your ability to learn new languages. Developing that meta-skill, makes it easier to learn a third or a fourth tongue.

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

Living In a Transition Era

We live in an era of fast change. Recognizing that the work market is not easily predictable and developing our ability to understand and adapt to continuous change is critical to succeed in the 21st Century.

The Role Of Adaptability

Adaptability requires understanding reality, adapting our mindset and adopting new ways of working.

Adaptability is a competitive advantage — it increases your chances to thrive in change. Research shows that adaptive teams procrastinate less, are more productive, creative and faster.

Three Meta-Skills Required To Develop Adaptability

  1. Self-awareness: to know oneself and to understand reality and others.
  2. Creativity: to develop new ideas, improvise and solve complex problems.
  3. Resilience: ability to face adversity and recover from failure  or discover new solutions.

Self-Awareness

It means having an accurate view of our capabilities and shortcomings and of how others see us. This is critical to develop self-acceptance, what drives self-esteem, thus alleviating conflicts with others.

Self-awareness encourages us to lead ourselves with authenticity and integrity — and in turn, better lead others. Teams with high self-awareness make better decisions, interact better with each other and manage tensions and conflicts more effectively.

The Scarcity Self-Awareness

90% of people believe they are self-aware but only 15% of them actually are. That’s an indicative that most people rather than accepting what’s going on, act on denial.

Resisting reality leaves us stuck, while accepting it leads to action. We can't always change what’s happening in the world, but we can change how we react. Accepting reality is focusing our attention on what happened rather than on what we wish should have occurred.

The Role Of Empathy In Organizations

Organizations with a deficit on empathy have inferior collaboration and teamwork. 

Being unable to step out of what’s happening to oneself, diminishes our ability to listen and understand other’s point of views. Empathy is vital to embrace diversity of thinking and thrive in change.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

Creativity

Creativity is about exploring new ways of solving problems. As our reality changes at an accelerated pace, creativity becomes a more widespread requirement in the workplace. 

Formal or corporate education must begin to encourage, and train, creativity.

Components Of Creativity

  • Improvisation: finding an unusual solution to a problem.
  • Problem-solving: expanding your thinking to consider anything that could work as a solution.
  • Innovation: to adopt a new mindset in order to create an alternative — to embrace experimentation over perfection, empathy over egos and doing over planning. 

Level 1 Thinkers vs. Deep Thinkers

  • Level 1 Thinkers: those who refuse to consider other viewpoints, thought processes, or arguments.
  • Deep-Thinkers: those who take a slow, deliberate, focused and reflective approach to solving complex problems.

Resilience

To be resilient is to have the mental strength to live under constant uncertainty and keep trying after failures. 

Resilience is a meta-skill that can be developed and it requires experimentation, learning and overcoming failures. 

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I know several thousand things that won’t work.”

Developing Resilience

Our brains are wired for certainty, in its absence we speculate to fill the gaps. Preparing your team to embrace uncertainty requires rewiring their brains.

Support and coaching are critical to developing resilience — reverse mentoring can help your team members support each other.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Oscar Holmes - PhD Rutgers School

"It’s hard to have a conversation about systemic injustices.  One, [diversity-related topics] are hard to ..."

Oscar Holmes - PhD Rutgers School
Advance Diversity Awareness for thoughtful leaders.

Challenge: Expose Biases too hidden to be seen.

Innovation: An identity survey with easily visible results.

Lesson: More than one social identity is examined at the same time and allows becoming aware of issues related to diversity and privilege.

How to bring the Identity survey to life
  • Do not overestimate your own competency. Life experience alone is not enough to become a diversity expert.
  • Broaden students’ perspective on privilege. A broad spectrum of topics that can reveal differences.
  • Demonstrate authenticity — and grace. Making cultural faux pas is an opportunity for teaching and showing grace.

  • Focus on solutions.  Awareness encourages motivation toward solutions.

Thomas Oppong

"We all have enough brainpower to master a new discipline — we use the right tools, approaches, or apply what we l..."

Thomas Oppong
Reading and continuous learning

Reading is one of the best sources of continuous learning. It allows your mind to grow, change and make new connections.

Highly successful learners read a lot: Elon Musk grew up reading two books a day, according to his brother. Bill Gates reads 50 books per year. Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book every two weeks. Warren Buffett spends five to six hours per day reading five newspapers and 500 pages of corporate reports.

Learning as a process 

Learning is a journey, not a destination. It's a process of self-discovery, fueled by curiosity.

Learning is an investment that usually pays for itself in increased earnings. And in a fast-changing world, the learning skills quickly is becoming a necessity.

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“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is gu..."

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
Skills Needed In Digital Leaders
  • Work together, complement each other, and function as a team.
  • Able to operate on and enable environments that are more dynamic, team-centric, and connected.
  • Lead and build teams and partner with the broader ecosystems, keep people connected and engaged, and drive a culture of innovation, learning, and continuous improvement.
  • Lead a workforce that includes contractors, the contingent workforce, and crowd talent.
  • Understand how different business functions, industries, and technologies come together to form solutions.
  • Comfortable and competent with risk-taking.
Demographics And Leadership Destiny

Millennials expect to be developed via opportunities, mentoring, and stretch assignments. However that is hard to come by in top-heavy companies. 

Most millennials think their roles provide little development while most companies report they have excellent or adequate programs for Millennials.

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Feedback
Feedback

Feedback provides an opportunity to gain insights about a person's personal and professional actions.
Without feedback, we will move in the same direction without realizing our shortcomings. ...

Types of feedback
  • Positive vs. negative. Positive feedback confirms that someone is taking good action, while negative feedback shows what actions need to be corrected.
  • Formal vs. informal. Formal feedback is given on a set schedule, and informal feedback is short and follows after an action or event.
  • Annual vs. monthly
  • Verbal vs. written
  • Manager vs. peer
Effective feedback
Effective feedback is:
  • Objective. Don't let your personal feelings get in the way.
  • Timely. Feedback should follow when the event is still fresh.
  • Constructive. Give respect and show that you have their best interests in mind.
  • Actionable. Feedback must include immediate next steps.
  • Warranted. Give your employees room for mistakes and learn from them.

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Managers vs. leaders

While managers' objectives include providing a more stable organization of the enterprise as a whole, leaders are more driven by the idea of setting new and challenging directions, that coul...

Overconfident leaders

Nowadays, we tend to believe that individuals showing too great self-confidence behave this way mainly because they are more qualified than others to get a leadership position. 

However, it is often soon afterwards that we come to realize that those very same persons are not competent enough, but only rather narcissistic.

A successful leader

Successful leaders do not only have to work hard, but they should also bear in mind the importance that a motivated team can have in the company's growth. 

Moreover, enterprises that encourage the development of their own young employees to positions of leadership get to know profit for longer periods of time.

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Soft Skills
Soft Skills

Esteban Bullrich, Argentinian Minister of Education, believes the future work market will be much more dynamic than today’s. 

A country-wide survey of almost 900 companies indicat...

Data Literacy And Empathy

Belinda Parmar, Chief Executive Officer of The Empathy Business, believes companies will seek leaders who are able to help them rebuild the empathy we’ve lost with technical, linguistic and mathematical skills, and can understand the information that will continue to emerge. This will require a new kind of “data literacy”, which will be in short supply, and therefore one of the most important skills of tomorrow.

Automation And Soft Skills

Vikas Pota, Chief Executive of Varkey Foundation, believes the jobs that won’t be automated will be those that require abilities like empathy (persuading and working well with others), a positive attitude (relearning and restudying) and resilience. These “soft” skills are hard to teach, thus there will be demand great teachers.

Also, automation will cause the skills needed by the economy to change which makes it impossible to predict which “hard skills” will be necessary.

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Charlie Munger
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time ..."
Charlie Munger
Learning is an investment

Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”  It's the reason Warren Buffett (& other successful individuals) spends 80% of his time reading. 

Intellectual Capital

Knowledge is the new money. While goods and services are becoming demonetized and replaced by machines, knowledge is becoming increasingly valuable.

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The Pressure Of Time

Most leaders have familiar approaches to managing time: setting goals, planning, delegating, tracking commitments, and creating to-do lists. While these approaches do help in self-organization, the...

Sustainable Productivity

Instead of increasing the number of productive hours, we can focus on getting the right things done in a timely way. We also need to restore and balance ourselves, our colleagues, family and environment, instead of a neurotic or pathological focus on deadlines.

Find out what's truly important to us and use the finite resource of time wisely.

Phantom Workload

Phantom workload looks like real work but results in massive unproductivity and even conflict in an organization. The pressure to meet unrealistic expectations causes a vicious cycle of further workload.

Leaders need to take a hard look at what is being avoided or not addressed. Facing difficult tasks that were 'swept under the carpet' earlier strengthens them further to make hard decisions and face difficult people and situations.

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The speed of change

The amount of data generated doubles every two years, reflecting a

Communicate your leadership signature

A leadership signature: Who you are as a leader and how you view and approach the job. 

  • Discover your leadership signature by asking how you lead day by day. Are you task or people focussed? 
  • Ask people who work with you how they would describe your leadership.
  • Consider the impact you have. Are you changing the culture? Driving results?
Be a sense maker

Sensemaking refers to the process of creating meaning out of the chaotic world around us.

We need to make sense when something in our environment seems to have changed. We collect data, learn from others, look for patterns to create a new map of the landscape. Then we experiment with new solutions to see how it will respond to this new environment.

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