sparkChief & Co.

The Coming Age: Multi-Talented Workforce and Hyper-Creativity

The future will hold a place for those organisations that hire, engage, develop, and retain “only” the right people. The “right people” are those individuals who know why they are doing what they are doing, are committed to contribute positively to your business, and add value to the organisation. They are not now and will not be, in future, haphazardly part of your organisation. In fact, luck or unfair advantage do not play any role in the hiring, development, retention, promotion, and performance of these individuals. But positive, practical efforts on the part of leadership are the deciding factors in ensuring the feasibility of the company in future through possession of such individuals.

The future talent market will increasingly favour the most-talented people in multiple domains, not the most-talented in one single area of expertise. Consequently, hiring only the right people will be the sole option for organisations that want to survive — and thrive. The right people will be in place because they are the only ones with the ability to perform the finest job, thanks to their broad knowledge, experience, and top-notch specialisation (and flexibility to go beyond that speciality). They will come to work willingly, because they want to be there, not because they have to be there. The biggest advantage they offer to employers — self-knowledge and awareness — will align with what they really want to do at work. And what they really desire is to participate in your company, which will enable them to create, contribute, and generate value for both themselves and your organisation.

A Positive Outcome: Creativity

Another critical but, by default, natural attribute of a multi-talented workforce is creativity. As multi-talented individuals seek self-awareness, knowledge, development, competence, and experience in various domains, they expose themselves to a diverse and challenging pool of problems and solutions. In turn, this experience forces them to leverage and use their multiple domain expertise in other areas.

In other words, by hiring, engaging, developing, and retaining only the right people (multi-talented individuals), organisations can, at last, disseminate creativity across all functions of their operation. This movement will significantly accelerate the level of innovation and problem-solving in organisations in ways that we have never seen before. Leadership and, in fact, all stakeholders will finally have the opportunity to experience what true creativity and innovation looks like in this new organisational environment.

Separating the wrong people from the right ones is the first step in leading organisations down the road to financial viability and productivity. So, how can management prepare their organisations for the coming age of a multi-talented workforce and hyper-creativity? The following options are worth careful consideration.

1) Upgrade Skills

If an organisation has not yet had the foresight to upgrade the skills of its workforce, now is the time to do so before it is too late! Severe competition will eventually level the market’s playing field, thereby leaving many organisations in the dark and stuck with few options. Further, many employees will find themselves unemployed for years to come because they have not prepared themselves, with or without the assistance of their organisations, for the future of the working environment. Upgrading skills is a common sense step that can only serve to boost the success and satisfaction of both individual employees and the businesses in which they work.

2) Highlight Creativity

By placing creativity at the centre of learning programmes, an unprecedented explosion of innovation is inevitable, simply due to necessity. After all, creativity and innovation emerge, first and foremost, out of need. The future business arena will see many more companies and individuals fighting for survival on a global scale, no longer merely relegated to under-developed or developing economies. This hyper-competitive new global economy will force many more organisations and individuals to seek creative solutions to their problems.

In essence, leadership needs to shift their perspective about creativity, so that it is no longer considered as something “nice to have” throughout the organisation or just reserved for a few elite individuals. Creativity should be the #1 “must have” attribute throughout the organisation and business, at all levels and in all functions.

3) Focus on Self-Awareness

Leaders should encourage, empower, and pave the way for others to understand the “big picture” for themselves as early as possible. It is only when people view the overall perspective — and how they fit into that big picture — that they start believing in themselves and their capabilities. By focusing on, hiring, and retaining only self-aware individuals who have faith in their talent, organisations can thrive and outperform the competition. This opportunity to succeed is a strong economic incentive for advocating such an approach.

As a result, both the employee and organisation benefit. After all, self-awareness, when aligned with a solid career development strategy, offers a sound solution to leaders as they re-design the future of their organisations. This approach is not just “nice to have,” but “must have” in order to maximise returns for all stakeholders, including the employees themselves.

4) Nurture Undiscovered Talent

Although the overwhelming majority of people are born with the capacity to shape, develop, and live their lives, only a minority have the chance to create (and implement) a strategy or a framework to do so. The real question is not about whether one is only talented, passionate, self-aware, mission-driven, well-networked, or action-oriented. The real question involves one’s ability to compile these pieces together coherently, allowing the big picture to emerge in a way that drives real growth — not only for that individual, but also for one’s family, friends, employer and colleagues, and community at large. It is also why so many talented, passionate, committed, or knowledgeable people remain undiscovered; they lack self-awareness, along with a framework or strategy to create their own big picture.

Leaders should facilitate the discovery process throughout their organisation. There is no practical reason not to do so. In the end, everyone can benefit from such a process. If employees wander around and struggle to do a fair job because they “have to be there” — that is, they need a job to feed their family or achieve their future plans — not because “they want to be there,” then they are only exerting an average effort. Further, people in the “have to be there” group have the potential to become barriers to growth for your business. Such individuals may lack the natural instinct and willingness to be creative and add more value than they receive, regardless of anything else.

5) Focus on Mindsets, Not Categories

We need to stop defining people in isolated groups, such as generations (basically driven by age groups, it is totally absurd, archaic, and mostly irrelevant in today’s world). Although it is understandable why such a concept was conceived in the first place, when the world was more static, it is increasingly difficult to buy into such an idea in today’s amazingly dynamic and super-actively-connected world.

Survival is no longer about an age group, nationality, religion, race, or gender. Rather, survival involves similar mindsets that are present in any age group, nation, religion, race, or gender. These mindsets are increasingly becoming the main source of lasting change. They represent the new leaders of the future, those who are heroic enough to dare to change for the better. The “right” mindsets are all about growth and innovation and constant learning.

Final Thoughts

Organisations that are able to find, attract, develop, and retain this new breed of leaders and team members — the “right” individuals — will successfully evolve, grow, and thrive. The organisations that cannot take these essential, but practical, steps will mostly fade away, as do their leaders who remain captivated by a mindset that focuses solely on what is happening now, in the present.

The future belongs to the individuals who are multi-talented, creative, and self-aware. The future also belongs to the organisations that are wise enough to hire and retain such multi-talented and creative employees. The question that leadership needs to ask themselves is simple: Why are we not taking the necessary steps now to ensure the survival of our organisation?

Writes about workforce strategy, leadership, and future of work. Founder & Managing Partner at sparkChief & Co. (www.sparkchief.com).

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