The Future of Work Needs Teams with These Five Skills

Cheryl Cran

July 02, 2018

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A new team-centric structure is arising among businesses and governments around the world, according to a recent Economist article.

In today's fast-paced, digital marketplace, leaders are shifting away from traditional hierarchical models and are restructuring to build dynamic networks of highly empowered teams. In a study of more than 7,000 executives in 130 countries, Deloitte found that more than 80% of respondents surveyed say their companies are currently restructuring to a team-centric structure.

The future of work needs teams with highly developed future ready skills—teams with these skills will be able to innovate at the speed of change, as well as create real-time solutions needed for customer and employee happiness.

The Five Skills Needed:

1. "Me" to "we" attitude—Individuals on a team need to be able to navigate the ambiguity of being an autonomous, high-performing individual while respecting and interacting with multiple stakeholders within the team dynamic. This skill requires people to have a healthy ego and to know when to 'push' forward on an idea or when to 'give' into the team's overall goals or someone else's ideas.

2. Real-time creativity skills—With the shift towards team structures in organizations it requires every person on the team to be focused on creative solutions. As a collective, the team 'culture' needs to be one of 'we do not see roadblocks—we see opportunities.' The ability of each person on the team needs to be able to link seemingly uncommon things to find the creative answer. For example 'what does a customer who might ride in a self-driving car have in common with our beverage service?' as a possible question. Creative answers might include: wants convenience, wants easy, wants to be cared for, etc.

3. Ability to leverage tech solutions—With the influx of AI, robotics, and automation, a lot of the mundane elements of projects will be handled by technology. We are seeing this with carebots, cobots, and talk-directed assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and more. Every person on the team needs to be tech-minded, but not in a way that is 'tech-only' focus—the tech mind needs to be focused on "How can we leverage the tech we have to improve the customer or employee experience?"

4. Integrated 'team talk' communication skills—There are many ways to communicate, and future-ready teams need to build a 'team talk' that allows each person to interact with ease and to move with great speed by being on the same page more often than not. Team talk means that there is a communication code of conduct agreed to by all team members. Team talk code of conduct can include: we can talk openly, we trust each other, we can say 'no,' we can challenge ideas and inputs, and we can agree to disagree.

5. The ABLE acronym is a key component of future ready teams— ABLE stands for: Always, Be, Learning Everyday—The most effective teams consist of highly self-motivated individuals who have a keen desire to grow and learn. When everyone on the team is ABLE, he or she sees every interaction, every challenge, and every celebration as an opportunity to learn and grow. Teams focused on learning spend less time in the "ME" part of being a team and more time on the "WE" part of being a team.

This article was originally published on NextMapping.

Cheryl Cran is a future of work expert and the founder of, a future of work research and consulting firm that helps leaders, teams, and entrepreneurs be future-ready now. She is the author of six books, including her new one due out at the end of 2018 titled, "NextMapping—How Great Leaders Inspire People to Create the Future of Work."

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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