We are hearing so often these days that there are tons of well-paying jobs for which companies simply can’t find qualified people. Of course, skilling up alone won’t solve the unemployment and underemployment problems we face. But we do need to skill up as an adult population.
I think we all have a part to play, at three levels at the same time:
- At the national/macro level. This is the realm of public policy around economics, education and the accommodation of technology changes.
- At the enterprise level. Organizations need to invest in and encourage the continual development of their employees.
- At the individual level. We all need to take personal responsibility for our own continual growth and re-skilling. Every working person should be attending to his or her skills and knowledge so as to ensure their ability to deliver value to someone who has a demand for it and will pay for it.
The first requires political foresight and a willingness to forge a workable consensus between partisan factions. The second requires employers to accept the value of investing to develop the capacity of their employees.
The third is much more difficult. It calls for individuals to want to be able to contribute, to believe in their ability to learn and grow, and to be willing to take continual initiatives to develop their ability to make a difference.
I work primarily at the second level, delivering management training programs, coaching, and keynote presentations to management groups and associations. But once I’m in the workshop, or across a table from a coaching client, or in mid speech from the platform, it’s all about level 3, the person in the other seat. What does he (she) want to learn? What is he willing to try? What behavior will he change back on the job…for the rest of his working life?