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You Do What You Are Taught

What would you do with a team of 40 people (Marketing team) whose skill sets are 12 years behind? I was asked this question as part of a project of upskilling them and I said, change them. It would take ages to bring their skills up to date and a lot of money. Hire a new team that's cheaper.

Did I like my suggestion? No! But what do you do with a whole department that is under-skilled? I blamed the organisation and also the individuals for this situation. Both abdicated responsibility for development and adaptability.

In today's rapidly evolving world, one of the most crucial skills we can possess is adaptability. As professionals, we often find ourselves in situations where we're presented with opportunities to learn from those who have come before us.

However, as the old saying goes, "Be careful who you learn from because you will do what you are taught to do." And if you willingly stay there you will become obsolete.

The danger of staying within your comfort zone and blindly following what you've been taught is that you risk missing out on transformative innovations, more efficient ways of doing things and even your job. Let's explore this concept further in various professional contexts:

  1. Finance: Are you still crunching numbers on Excel sheets when AI can automate and optimize financial processes?

  2. Sales: In an era of digital marketing and e-commerce, having a massive sales team because that's what we used to do may not be the most efficient way to reach your audience.

  3. Hotel Management: Traditional duty management shifts might be the norm, but instead, ask your Heads of Departments (HODs) to take care of their departments.

  4. Hospitality: Still sending security to check your due-out rooms? You must learn to use the discrepancy report. Technology is your friend.

  5. HR: Human Resources isn't just about handing out ice cream; it's about ensuring the smooth operation of a business, which includes understanding your people.

  6. Learning and Development: Measuring the return on investment (ROI) in monetary terms might not capture the true value of L&D which is competency development. Measure that and you will see that the ROI is in your annual appraisal.

  7. Performance Evaluation: Evaluating employees based on office face time rather than results and task completion can lead to inefficiencies in the workplace.

  8. Employee Engagement: Once a year annual engagement surveys are false data. Building employee engagement profiles through continuous data collection for a more engaged workforce.

  9. Onboarding: Traditional classroom induction days must be replaced with online courses, making onboarding more accessible, flexible, and engaging for new hires. Please get rid of induction days!

  10. Leadership: You create more leaders instead of great followers because a feel-good quote told you that. It is not only a ridiculous concept it is also counterproductive to achieving your KPIs.

  11. Innovation: Are you still handwriting checks in the age of Fintech? Oh boy!

  12. My favourite one: Stop saying we are a family when you have policies in place that don't allow family members to work together.

The common thread in all these scenarios is the risk of complacency, stagnation, and narrow-mindedness. If you continue to operate with your blinders on, only following what you've been taught, you're limiting halting change. To stay relevant in the modern professional landscape, it's essential to remain open to change and seek out new ways of doing things.

The world is evolving at an unprecedented pace, and the tools, technologies, and methods we use today may become obsolete tomorrow. It's our responsibility as professionals to remain open to new ideas and approaches. By doing so, we not only stay relevant in our fields but also contribute to the advancement of our industries.

Change is not just a buzzword; it's a necessity for success. It always has been and it always will be. As Sheikh Mohammed said; Change or you will be changed. Either by the environment or by your employers.

Want to read more about what you could do differently?

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