Fast change: what skills are important?

Fortunes can turn fast these days.  RIM has been all over the news, of course, for their rapid descent from domination to the very risky place they find themselves in today.  I was speaking to a friend today, a friend who works at RIM, so the story was front of mind for me.  But they aren’t the only high tech corporate beast struggling to regain stature in the jungle.  Motorola, Nokia… two once-proud lions also seem to be fading quickly as they appear unable to stay relevant.  What’s relevant?  Whatever the consumer doesn’t know they want yet.  Who knows… maybe they’ll all turn things around just as quickly but for now, Apple and Google seem to be the only companies of a certain massive size that have a handle on what we want next.  (As an aside, my current employer too seems to be out-front in a similar manner as Apple and Google but in a very specific market and at a much smaller scale).

Anyway, I was thinking of this when I read the Wall Street Journal today.  Debt-crisis articles were dominant, naturally, but one other called What’s wrong with America’s job engine? made me think of the topic of rapidly changing fortunes.  It takes a lot of fortitude to ride the roller-coaster of the modern economy and it begs the question, how best should we prepare our kids?  When it’s obvious that there is no such thing as job security (i.e. with a single employer for decades), and that jobs won can be jobs lost almost as quickly, and often due to circumstances outside of an individual’s control, how should we guide our young people?  The answer is very old but probably more relevant and its practice more important than ever.  Instill in young people strong moral and ethical values, respect for others, respect for themselves, encourage a zeal for learning, thinking, sharing. and leading.  People who exhibit these qualities are the ones who are capturing success in today’s communication-heavy business world.  I think that will become increasingly true as the years roll on.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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