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What are the key skills needed for the future?

2738870731_308f453072_nIs it robotics, computer science, or mechanical engineering? What will you do better than a computer and how will you and I continue to add value?

In his book, Humans are Underrated, Geoff Colvin explains that “you used to have to be good at being machine-like and now you have to be good at being a person. Great performance requires us to be intensely human beings.”

Geoff believes that the abilities that will prove to be the most essential to our success are no longer the technical, classroom-taught, left-brain skills that economic advances have demanded from workers in the past. Instead, our greatest advantage lies in what we humans are most powerfully driven to do for and with one another. Our skills as human beings arising from our deepest, most essentially human abilities—empathy, creativity, social sensitivity, storytelling, humor, building relationships, and expressing ourselves with greater power than logic can ever achieve. This is how we create durable value that is not easily replicated by technology—because we’re hardwired to want it from humans.

These high-value skills create tremendous competitive advantage—more devoted customers, stronger cultures, breakthrough ideas, and more effective teams. And yet, they are the most difficult skills for us to master ourselves, and to develop in our management teams. I have seen so many people who have fantastic technical skills fumble over the soft skills that truly make a great leader. What ways have you found to help your leadership team develop these high-value, yet difficult to learn and assess, skills?

Adapted from Fortune magazine article published July 23, 2015.

photo credit: _X1W2551 via photopin (license)