first step

What do individuals need to consider to remain relevant?

For some time now I have believed 70% of my knowledge is obsolete. People look at me strangely when I say this. How can all those years of experience be wasted?

If you were told that students graduating in 2016 will have obsolete qualifications for which there will no longer be a profession by 2025, how would you feel? Devastated I’m sure. Well, that’s the reality these days.

Technology continues to change the speed at which things can be done and how things are done. By 2020, more than 20 billion devices will be connected worldwide and will be pumping out data, according to technology research giant Gartner.

Moving from a corporate career to a mixed portfolio has made me realise that I need to reinvent myself and continue learning. (I am not a millennial – I’m a baby boomer.) It is critical to any role to be able to demonstrate relevance in the digital age. Not only is working in a job you enjoy important but pushing yourself to become digitally savvy is what will allow you to remain in that job. Love it or hate it, understanding technology and the digital world is a must.

As robots, AI and digital data continue to replace many jobs and professions, jobs by 2025 will require unique human interaction, such as cultural deftness, empathy, and creative thinking. These skills will be harder to automate and hence more sought after.

So what do I think you need to consider to stay relevant today?
  • Adapt to the change – this is not always easy.
  • Become digitally savvy – one step at a time.
  • Connect with smart millennials – share and learn.
  • Determination – identify where you add value.
  • Wisdom – knowledge without wisdom can be dangerous.
So simply put, ABCD+W = RELEVANT

Adapting to societal changes will help you stay relevant. Understanding the current language gives you the ability to join the conversation. Just test the reaction of a millennial when you mention the word, fax, Melways or bank book. They are all extinct. Ask yourself if you can easily join in their daily conversation or does it sound like another language.

Become digitally savvy. If you’re not a millennial this takes courage. My advice is to learn something new every week. Add it to your diary, and make it a habit. The hardest part is getting started.

Connect with smart millennials. They are the new digital innovators, developing businesses that disrupt every industry sector imaginable. The digital world is their world. By 2025 it’s estimated that millennials will make up 48.3% of the global workforce, while those aged 60 and older will comprise only 9.9%. So connecting with them is critical if you want to remain relevant.

Determination. Don’t give up. I never said it was going to be easy. Remember even the most successful people have failed at some point in a past life – they just don’t tell you that. Don’t become obsolete or maybe even extinct. If you let your conversations become irrelevant, your confidence will be eroded and your connectedness will be impacted. You’ll need loads of grit, determination and resilience to find the areas when you can add value.

Finally, I think ‘wisdom’ is highly undervalued. Wisdom is the bridge between the past and the present. Knowledge without wisdom can be dangerous. Even smart people do stupid things.
People speak of wisdom as the product of experience, knowledge and good judgement. I consider wisdom to be the combination of experience plus reflection and courage to act in the present.

So what are you going to do to remain relevant? It’s up to you to take the first step.

Step 1 – connect to access new knowledge and ideas

Written by Sandra Loader, Member Advocate, Hargraves Institute

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