As educators, we need to partner with leaders in the business community to identify what knowledge and skill sets are needed for those seeking to stay competitive in the workplace. Forbes magazine cites critical thinking as the number one job skill sought in organizations. According to the American Management Association, 82% of organizational leaders say analytical skills will grow in importance over the next five years.
Why? Because thinking analytically means we organize, analyze and communicate information by questioning assumptions we have. It is a way of stepping back and questioning our beliefs to solve a problem. It results in unique ways to respond, adapt and compete in organizations. The outcome is stronger decision making.
According to Harvard Business Review, organizations adapt to change by supporting a learning environment. These environments create specific, planned strategies for learning. Leaders support the learning strategies and find ways to reinforce them in daily practices. Our role in a learning organization is to stay competitive at work, seek ways to reinvent ourselves and embrace change. We need to learn new technology, different skill sets and new ways of thinking. It is a process of continuous learning; a mantra we have in higher education.
It is through the process of communication that we are able to organize, coordinate work and build relationships. Communication makes collaboration possible even in a workplace where values and age differences affect how we behave. Those of us from the Boomer generation understand the role we play at work, know what work needs to be done and we do it. Individuals from the Millennial Generation want to understand their role in an organization, not just by the work they do, but by also by understanding why they are doing it.
Regardless of age and experience, we move forward and continuously learn. Jill Abramson, former Executive Editor of the NY Times, tells graduates of Wake Forest University to “show them what you are made of.” Maybe this is where we all begin.