So you are responsible for ensuring your firm has all the skills and knowledge it needs for the future. This means you’re responsible for up-skilling your firm.
Easy, isn’t it?
Of course it is. Well, it’s easy if you know what skills you need. Skills and knowledge translate into products and services. And hence it’s easy if you know what your market wants.
Oh, and don’t forget you need to know what your suppliers can offer. And, what about the skills you already have? Do they match what you need?
Whoa, getting a headache? Ok. Let’s take it slowly and see what we need to do to up-skill your firm.
Getting a sense of the market
First, let’s think about what we need to know. Draw a circle in the middle of a piece of paper. Write your company name in it, and your job title. That’s you – stuck in the middle wondering what to do.
Draw an arrow to the left of your box and label it ‘Market’. Think about your competitors, your customers and your suppliers. Also, think about what new product and services you will want to bring to market. It’s your job to look outside your firm and to analyse the external environment to envision the future skills you’ll need to achieve business success with those products and services.
Now, to the other side of your organisation, draw an arrow to the right and label it ‘People’. So, you’ve thought about the market – you’ve sensed the external environment and now you need to sense the internal environment comprising the people you employ.
You now need to assess objectively the skills and knowledge you already have in the firm. You need to do this on the same scales as you did when assessing the skills and knowledge needed to service the market.
The difference between the skills needed in the future and those already in the company tells you the skills development needed – the up-skilling required to bridge the gap.
The proverbial crystal ball
Determining the future is hugely difficult. To do this you must do some ‘crystal ball gazing’. One way of crystal ball gazing is called future state visioning. Here’s how it works to develop the gap to be bridged. There are five steps:
- Gaze into the metaphoric crystal ball and write down in words what your future business will look like. Develop some 100 word paragraphs.
- Highlight the important points of each paragraph. This is known as parsing. Focus on the verbs (for action) and the nouns (for entities or things).
- Predict the skills and knowledge you’ll need to ‘do’ the actions and create the entities for each of the points you highlighted.
- Repeat 1-3 above but this time focus on what you currently do and achieve. Determine the skills and knowledge that the firm has today.
- The skills gap is the difference between the two states. Put in place the means to gain the missing skills and knowledge.
Having determined the skills available in the current state and those needed in the future state you can then use our competency framework tool to capture your up-skilling requirement. You can then decide to train, recruit or buy in the skills you need.
Up-skilling can’t be done until you know what your future state looks like and hence what skills you require for the future success of the business.
So, as Aleksandr Orlov the meerkat would say, ‘simples’. What do you think?