7 skills your child needs to survive the changing world of work

By: Charlotte Edmond September 04, 2017

Source: https://www.weforum.org

Education may be the passport to the future, but for all the good teaching out there, it would seem that schools are failing to impart some of the most important life skills, according to one educational expert. Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group, argues that today’s school children are facing a “global achievement gap”, which is the gap between what even the best schools are teaching and the skills young people need to learn. This has been exacerbated by two colliding trends: firstly, the global shift from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy, and secondly, the way in which today’s school children – brought up with the internet – are motivated to learn. In his book The Global Achievement Gap, Wagner identifies seven core competencies every child needs in order to survive in the coming world of work.

  1. Critical thinking and problem-solving

Companies need to be able to continuously improve products, processes and services in order to compete. And to do this they need workers to have critical thinking skills and to be able to ask the right questions to get to the bottom of a problem.

  1. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence

Given the interconnected nature of the business world, leadership skills and the ability to influence and work together as a team has become increasingly important. And the key to becoming an effective leader? It’s twofold, says Wagner, involving “creative problem-solving and a clear ethical framework”.

  1. Agility and adaptability

The ability to adapt and pick up new skills quickly is vital for success: workers must be able to use a range of tools to solve a problem. This is also known as “learnability”, a sought-after skills among job candidates.

  1. Initiative and entrepreneurialism

There is no harm in trying: often people and businesses suffer from a tendency to be risk-averse. It is better to try 10 things and succeed in eight than it is to try five and succeed in all of them.

  1. Effective oral and written communication

Recruits’ fuzzy thinking and inability to articulate their thoughts were common complaints that Wagner came across from business leaders when researching his book. This isn’t so much about young people’s ability to use grammar and punctuation correctly, or to spell, but how to communicate clearly verbally, in writing or while presenting. “If you have great ideas but you can’t communicate them, then you’re lost,” Wagner says.

  1. Online business brokers

This is an option for those who simply don’t have time to search for available opportunities or feel more comfortable having an experienced professional handle the negotiations. They know what to look for, and have the knowledge to quickly determine whether or not any claims made by the owner are in fact genuine. Think of an online business broker like a real estate agent — they make the purchase process easier on you. Not only that, but they are in your corner if something goes wrong or you have questions.

Just like a real estate transaction, a broker is only paid when the sale is completed. It’s in their best interest to find you the best possible online business opportunity and handle the entire acquisition process from beginning to end.

  1. Accessing and analysing information

Many employees have to deal with an immense amount of information on a daily basis: the ability to sift through it and pull out what is relevant is a challenge. Particularly given how rapidly the information can change.

  1. Curiosity and imagination

Curiosity and imagination are what drive innovation and are key to problem solving. “We’re all born curious, creative and imaginative,” says Wagner. “The average four-year-old asks a hundred questions a day. But by the time that child is 10, he or she is much more likely to be concerned with getting the right answers for school than with asking good questions.

“What we as teachers and parents need do to keep alive the curiosity and imagination that, to a greater or lesser extent, is innate in every child.”

Three ways to buy an established online business

By: Doug Winter August 14, 2017

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/295829

This year will be known as the year enterprises became artificially intelligent. Research by Gartner suggests that interest in new big data investments has peaked. The question has changed from “how do we get data?” to “what do we do with it?” Forrester found that enterprises plan on increasing investment in artificial intelligence (AI) by 300 percent in 2017. One area of major AI investments will be sales. Customer analytics are one of the largest data sources for enterprises, and Salesforce already made a big splash earlier this month by releasing Einstein, their AI assistant designed to help sales teams uncover insights that will help close deals and identify upsell opportunities. But how exactly will sales be upended by AI? I see three main areas:

  1. Process optimization. According to CSO Insights, 43 percent of enterprise sales reps miss quota. The main reason? Lack of efficient, organized sales processes. AI will make huge inroads in regards to optimizing the sales process, beginning with the onboarding of new reps, which currently takes upwards of six to 10 months to reach full productivity. Based on observing the actions of high-performing reps, AI will provide a blueprint to new reps, offering guidance in terms of how often reach out to a prospect and what collateral to send them to be most effective in closing deals. This “autocoach” functionality will mitigate the time in which new reps operate at a loss because they are acting in a statistically similar way as high-performing reps. Content and meeting preparation processes are also primed for AI, particularly through natural language processing (NLP). For example, client-facing collateral in regulated industries, like financial services, is often required to include correct disclosures, a manual process usually delegated to reps. NLP can automate this process through keyword scanning, and as sales compliance remains a hot button issue in financial services, expect to see AI play a major role. NLP will also improve how sales reps prepare for meetings by bringing context front-and-center. By leveraging data accrued from past meetings across the sales organizations, sales reps will know what pieces of content — and even what order of slides — will work best for the particular combination of buyers in the room during a presentation. Which brings me to my next point …
  1. Personalization. Eighty percent of B2B sales organizations find personalized interactions to be most effective with buyers. Unfortunately, Forrester has found that 78 percent of buyers say salespeople come to meetings with irrelevant or incorrect materials. AI opens up a new world of personalization in sales conversations. One important instance will be in lead scoring. Right now, lead scoring essentially involves qualifying leads by fairly large, non-specific buckets based on previous interactions and subjective human input. With AI processing data from the entire marketing, sales and UX technology stacks, lead scoring will become exponentially more granular, where sales reps are handed personalized blueprints on how to approach each lead as an individual. From there, AI will also usher in dramatic changes to the content used by sales reps. Integrating data coming from the Internet of Things opens up particularly intriguing cases. Today this data primarily assists product monitoring, but it’s not hard to see a situation in which, say, Boeing, through the digital monitoring of their own commercial machine parts, reaches out to American Airlines with a personalized product brochure — automatically personalized with the right logos and pertinent case studies for the individual buyer — on new turbines the moment there are indications that it may be time for a new one within their fleet.
  1. The elimination of mundane sales tasks. Popular calendar and scheduling tools are, frankly, a giant pain for everyone involved. Our sales team of 60 schedules about 3,600 meetings per month. If each meeting takes 10 minutes of sending calendar invites back and forth and including new attendees, the result is 600 hours per month wasted scheduling meetings. We’re already seeing a crop of new tools that leverage AI to help with scheduling meetings. X.ai, for example, automates the email back and forth for the sales rep. Another manually intensive area of sales is note taking. Required for proper follow-up, note taking can also distract the rep from giving his or her full attention to the buyer. Clarke.ai is claiming to solve this problem via NLP. By dialing into the service before a call, Clarke.ai will record the context of the meeting and provide it back to the seller automatically.

 

Bringing it all together

While the tactical changes promised by AI will no doubt change the day-to-day of sales reps, its true benefit lies in the feedback loop. Big data investments have allowed data to be collected from all areas of the customer experience, from first touch to the monitoring of products they end up using. AI will be able to pinpoint and predict areas of strength and weaknesses in the experience of each new lead that comes through, improving the entire sales and marketing process intelligently and automatically.