Worklife: Being ready to adapt and learn is the way forward

By instilling a sense of enquiry and a rigour of continual learning, we will be able to augment the positive side of AI and its cognitive automation systems

By Sanjeev Pradhan Roy

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Published: Fri 24 Nov 2023, 10:13 PM

It is not the strongest of species that survive nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin

As the world revolves, we ought to evolve. Easier said than done, as sharpening the axe is both individual-centric and organisationally driven.

The phenomenon of neuroplasticity has assumed great significance in today’s talent landscape, where burnout, career stagnation, mental health and work relevance have become too compelling to ignore. For the uninitiated, neuroplasticity is our brain’s ability to learn, change and adapt according to life experiences.

The advent of AI and its variants have brought in a sense of immediacy about the obsoleteness of certain skill sets and functions, where one has to be able to unlearn, relearn and apply quickly. In this respect, neuroplasticity helps harness one’s full potential at work by adding new skills, strengthening EQ and improving communication. The process of constant learning aids in brain stimulation and creates quicker response quotient to unforeseen scenarios, enables dexterity in decision-making and efficiency in task performance.

Some known ways of improving neuroplasticity are through relevant trainings, role reversals, sharing ideas proactively, good sleep, engaging in mindfulness exercises like meditation and gratitude, and reducing unnecessary stress through non-toxic work environments.

By instilling a sense of enquiry and a rigour of continual learning, we will be able to augment the positive side of AI and its cognitive automation systems.

As per the World Economic Forum (WEF) report, 133 million new roles will likely be generated worldwide as a result of technology-driven divisions between human, machines and algorithms. The WEF estimates more than 50 per cent of all global employees will require significant reskilling to fill those positions. This requires a certain level of plasticity and agility to remain competitive.

Gartner predicts that 70 per cent of routine work being done by managers will be fully automated by 2024, leaving them to focus more on critical tasks including learning, performance management, goal setting and transformation. It is hence vital for employees to go beyond their comfort zone and adapt to new technologies impacting their area of work.

In its future work skills report, the Institute for the Future (ITF) outlines a few skills that will be considered essential in the future of work. These include traits like situational awareness, social intelligence, innovative thinking, cross cultural competency, computational thinking, new media literacy, transdisciplinary, design mindset, cognitive load management and virtual collaboration.

Some organisations do foster the culture of mentorship, either intrinsic or extrinsic, that helps in value creation in totality. Most don’t, and that is when employees need to be self-aware, seek guidance from the network and ensure a lifelong learning approach.

Let us be reminded of the six vital Japanese techniques to continually evolve, viz. Ikigai (discovering your purpose in life), Kaizen (focusing on small improvements regularly), The Pomodore technique (working for 25 minutes without distraction, taking a five minute break and then repeating it), Hara Hachi Bu (being miserly with eating habits), Shoshin (approaching each task like a beginner) and Wabi Sabi (embracing imperfection).

Life is all about choices that make us work on our vices. Make that right choice now to be current adept and future ready.

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