Some time ago, if you wanted to gauge one's career prospects, you might consider asking for an IQ test, the intelligence quotient, that measures indicators such as memory and math ability.
More recently, other letters have been evaluated: the emotional intelligence quotient (EQ), a combination of interpersonal skills, self-control and communication. Not only in the world of work, EQ is seen as a skill kit that can help us succeed in various aspects of life.
Both IQ and EQ are considered important for career success. But today, as technology redefines how we work, the skills needed to thrive in the job market are changing as well. Then comes a new quotient of adaptability (QA), which considers the ability to position and thrive in a rapidly changing environment.
"IQ is the minimum you need to get a job, but QA is an indicator of long-term success," says Natalie Fratto, vice president of Goldman Sachs in New York who became interested in QA while investing in start-ups. technology. She then gave a popular TED talk on the subject.
Fratto says QA is not just about being able to absorb new information, but about finding out what's relevant, leaving behind obsolete notions, overcoming challenges and making a conscious effort to change. This quotient also involves characteristics such as flexibility, curiosity, courage and resilience.
As society changes, can QA become more important than IQ? If so, how to identify and improve your QA?
Adaptation or obsolescence
Amy Edmondson, a business professor at Harvard Business School, says it's the breakneck speed of changes in the job market that will make QA beat IQ.
Has technology greatly changed the way some work is done, and will the trend continue? Over the next three years, 120 million people in the world's 12 largest economies will likely need to be relocated because of automation, according to an IBM study this year.
Any function that involves detecting patterns in data – lawyers reviewing legal documents or doctors looking for a patient's history, for example? it's easy to automate, says Dave Coplin, director of The Envisioners, a UK-based technology consultancy. This is because an algorithm can perform these tasks faster and more accurately than a human.
To avoid obsolescence, workers who do these jobs need to develop new skills such as creativity to solve new problems, empathy to communicate better, and accountability. That is, using human intuition to complement the work of machines: "If something can do 30% of the tasks I used to do, what can I do with this unused gap? Winners are those who choose to do things others can't. . "
Edmondson says every profession will require adaptability and flexibility, from banking to the arts. Let's say you are an accountant. Your IQ helps you with the tests you need to pass to qualify; Your QE contributes to connecting with a recruiter and then to relationships with colleagues and clients at work. So when systems change or work aspects are automated, you need QA to accommodate new scenarios.
All three quotients are somewhat complementary because they all help solve problems and thus adapt, Edmondson points out. An ideal candidate has all three, but not all are so.
"There are hard geniuses," she says.
Having IQ, but no IQ, can be a block to existing skills in the face of new ways of working.
In the corporate world, QA is increasingly being sought at the time of hiring. According to the IBM study, 5,670 executives around the world rated behavioral skills as the most critical of the workforce today, and the main one was the ability to "be flexible, agile and adaptable to change."
Will Gosling, Deloitte's UK human capital consulting leader, says there is no definitive method for measuring adaptability as an IQ test, but companies have agreed on the value of QA and are shifting their recruitment processes to identify it in people.
Deloitte, for example, has been doing online simulations with candidates where they are evaluated for their adaptability; One of the tests asks the person how to encourage reluctant colleagues to join the company's triathlon team. Deloitte also seeks to hire people who have been shown to perform well in different roles, sectors or workplaces.
Goldman Sachs's Fratto suggests three ways in which QA can manifest itself in potential candidates: if they can imagine future versions asking "what if" questions; can unlearn information to challenge assumptions; and if they like to explore or pursue new experiences.
She says this is not a definitive recipe for QA, but recruiters should ask these questions to look for evidence of this skill in candidates. In fact, she poses these questions to the leaders of the technology companies who are pleading for her investment.
A good thing about QA is that even though it is difficult to measure, experts say it can be developed.
Penny Locaso, founder of BKindred, an Australian education company that works with the value of adaptability, says some people have more curious or courageous personalities, which may explain why they are naturally better at adapting than others.
"However, if one does not continue to surf to the limit of discomfort, the adaptability with which one was born may diminish over time."
She suggests three ways to increase adaptability: first, limit distractions and learn to focus on mapping the adaptations that need to be made; then ask uncomfortable questions, such as asking for a pay raise, to develop courage and normalize fear; Third, stimulate your curiosity about fascinating things and seek answers about them in conversations with others instead of Google? current habit that "makes our brains lazy" and diminishes our ability to solve difficult challenges.
Otto Scharmer, professor at Sloan School of Management at MIT, who has written books about learning in the emerging future, suggests other methods. In a TED talk, he recommends staying open to new possibilities, trying to see a situation through someone else's eyes and reducing your ego so you can feel comfortable with the unknown.
One thing we know is that tomorrow's workplaces will work differently. We may not all be comfortable with the pace of change, but we can prepare ourselves.
As Edmondson says, "Learning to learn is a mission critical. The ability to learn, change, grow, experience will become much more important than mastery of a subject."