Life and Work Skills of the Future

I’ve written about the impact of The Information Age and The Technology Revolution on work….what jobs are emerging and going away….what skills are needed.  And there is no doubt that technology is transforming the nature of work and how we live our lives.  But, here at Champlain College, we are going through an exercise about what competencies we want our students to have when they graduate, and have found something surprising.  Many of the emerging skills that will be in demand in the future are not obviously connected to technology.

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A Lesson from ‘The Cold Call Pope’

This week, the New York Times ran a story about Pope Francis.  It seems he’s been spontaneously calling people who reach out to him for help —  a pregnant woman who’s boyfriend is pressuring her to have an abortion; a man whose brother was murdered during a robbery; etc.  He offers solace and comfort, and generally does what ‘The Peoples’ Pope’ would naturally do.  He’s now earned a second nickname:  The Cold Call Pope.  But, this new development has come with some controversy associated with it.  How could that possibly be, you ask?  And what can we learn from it?

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College Affordability: The Untold Story

President Obama spent much of last week speaking about the need to improve access to and successful completion of a college education for more people.  He rightly asserts that this is key to America’s long-term viability and leadership on the world stage.  But, if you read the press coverage, it is a lot about the ‘access’ part of the story, and very little about the ‘successful completion’ part of the story.  What you read over an over again is about reducing the cost of tuition.  You hear less, or nothing at all, about improving graduation rates for those who DO begin a college education.  I believe that improving graduation rates is at least equally important as improving affordability, and within this, there is an untold story.

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The World of Work: What does happiness have to do with it?

 

Yesterday, there was an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times that reviewed a study on the topic of depression.  The researchers looked at Google searches for ‘depression’ and related phrases.  Curious was the finding that August 11th is our least depressed day of the year (I hope you had a good day yesterday!).  More importantly, they found that a 1 point change in unemployment rate corresponds to 2 point change in depression indicators.  Separately, PayScale recently studied job satisfaction, and guess what the highest rated profession is?  Dermatologist.  Notably, there was NOT an obvious correlation between job satisfaction and salary (on the top 10 is Child Life Specialist, with an average salary of $39,000).  Finally, there was a study published in The Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences that concluded that, beyond a certain salary level —  $75,000  – there is no correlation between increase in wages and happiness, enjoyment, sadness or stress.  So, what does all this mean?

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Change Management: A Lesson from Picasso

Pablo Picasso was arguably the greatest artist of the 20th Century.  He also provided me with a valuable lesson about how to manage change in the work place.  ‘Huh?’, you say?  Allow me to explain.  For about 7 years, I had the pleasure of running a very successful business called Gatorade.  Gatorade was a rock star of a business, delivering terrific results year after year.  But, I knew there would be a day when that growth slowed or stopped…..when the business hit the proverbial wall.  But, how to prepare for this?  Eventually, Picasso came to the rescue, but not after a few false starts.

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