Technical and technological skills will take on greater importance. There will be a growing need for people who can understand and fix systems——from computer systems to product distribution systems to plumbing systems.
Visionary skills will be in demand. The ability to gather and absorb a wide range of input ,then use that knowledge, understanding, and perspective to guide organization into future, will be vital.
Numbers and measurement will be important, of course, but smoothing the flow form month to month, from quarter to quarter will be essential for highly profitable long-term performance. Practically every company will have to move away from today's obsession with looking ahead only as far as the next financial reporting period.
Ability to organize will definitely be important in the corporation of the future. Everywhere there will be a need to organize something: resources, workflow, marketing mix, financial opportunities, and much more, all will demand high levels of organization and reorganization.
Persuasive skills will be used in many ways by the corporation of the future, the most-effective individuals will be those who know how to present information and ideas so that others can understand and support a particular position. Good salesmanship will be essential in many more interactions than we consider today, especially inside the organization.
Ability to learn will be above everything else in importance——empowering people to grow in effectiveness and help their companies achieve desired objectives. Some of this skill is innate, but many people enhance their ability to learn——and to relate different aspects of learning——through college and university courses. We believe the liberal arts education experience will prove to be the most valuable type of education for tomorrow's leaders.
Communication skills——careful listening, clear writing, close reading, plain speaking, and accurate description——will be invaluable. In tomorrow's fast-paced business environment there will be precious little time to correct any misunderstandings. Communications breakdown may well become a fatal corporate disease.
The top employees of the coming century will be flexible, creative and motivated toward making a positive difference in the world. They will seek balance, growth and fulfillment in both their work and home environments. The corporation of the future must respond to these needs and desires; otherwise they will find themselves hampered by a lack of qualified people to accomplish the organization's work.