The 2012 presidential election highlighted the economic challenges we face as a country: job growth is flat at best; employee pay in many industries has fallen and college graduates are having trouble finding jobs. What skills should our students be learning in high school and college to help them compete and success in tomorrow’s economy? And what should farsighted parents be doing to help their children prepare vocationally for the future?
While mastery of math, science, computers and other subjects are important for success in many career fields, knowledge alone is not enough. According to IBM’s 2012 CEO study of 1700 business leaders, the most important personal characteristics for employees to succeed in today’s economy are the three C’s: Collaborative, Communicative and Creative. Best selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin agrees and states in his popular book, Linchpin, that the world has changed and requires new skills to succeed. Godin also describes gaps in our educational system to meet these needs in his 30,000 word manifesto, ‘Stop Stealing Dreams.’
Our oldest daughter is living in Africa, teaching English and working as a consultant for a company that teaches cross-cultural experiences to people from all over the world. Our second daughter is in graduate school studying to be a Physical Therapist. Our youngest just graduated college with an art degree and is working at an international advertising agency.
In each case, knowledge learned in school was important but the skills and experiences learned outside the classroom made all the difference.
Over the next several articles, I’ll share more about the skills of collaboration, communication and creativity, how you can teach them to your children and our own experiences with our children.
Question: What are the personal skills that are most important for success in today’s economy? Please share your comments here.