• Amii Barnard-Bahn

Outdated Skills can make you Expendable

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

You’d probably agree with me that the future world of work requires everyone to become a lifelong learner. Author Jeffrey Wald recently estimated the rate at which our skills are monetizable is dropping. Currently it’s estimated 4-6 years before a skill is outdated. That means that many things we know and tools we use to do our job well today will be obsolete and done in new ways, and more effectively in the future. For those of us who are highly invested in our technical knowledge, we know how fast it ages.


While a sobering statistic, perhaps we can leverage the forced shifts in work from this unplanned pandemic to help ground us in seeing the future. It seems to me that we have already learned some valuable lessons around what we need to be focused on to be fulfilled going forward.


My hope is that in the future, our relationships will take on even greater significance. That how we relate to each other and ourselves will be the value differentiator in our organizations and the world at large. The key to this of course, is rooted in leadership and the skills leaders possess and continue to refine to set and drive a productive culture.


As a Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Coaching, over the past year I served as part of its research team exploring the impact of the pandemic on leadership (and interviewed several clients — you know who you are, thank you!).


Our research resulted in the publication of “Leading With Humanity: The Future of Leadership and Coaching” (downloadable free here). Reflecting on the positive behavior shifts as well as the accompanying pain and hardship for many, our earnest hope is that this is a call for us to lean in to our empathetic, agile and resilient nature. That our collective experience will bring us to organizational leadership that is sustainable, equitable, humane.


As many of you return to the office, negotiate hybrid work arrangements, or stay remote with bunny slippers, you should get a reality check on your leadership skills and those of your colleagues. Have the important conversations with those whose careers you impact, as well as those who have the power to impact your work. Good leaders are hard to find but bad leaders are easily replaced.




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