The 21st-Century Career Profile

Includes Intelligence + Intention + Interaction

The opportunity to work on meaningful projects, conceptualize and develop creative solutions to problems, or create new products or services no one else has imaged yet has never been greater. We all have the opportunity to impact our organization positively and accomplish personal satisfaction. It is an exciting time to be in the workforce.

Here’s why. Technology is rapidly replacing repetitive, routine tasks that can bore and frustrate us. These automation capabilities are freeing our time to think and collaborate more broadly. We just need to embrace the opportunity.

Automation and artificial intelligence power digital transformation and have propelled the work environment into what is now known as the service economy. Most jobs today aim to achieve goals or deliver innovative, custom solutions to a problem or design new processes, approaches, or products that make our jobs easier or customers’ lives better. Over the last two decades, there has been a momentous shift in the majority of job types from routine, monotonous jobs to non-routine jobs.

Any routine job that digital technology can automate has been, or is in the process of, or will be automated, as this chart from Josh Bersin, the president and founder of Bersin & Associates, a leading industry research and advisory firm, illustrates. That means that most new jobs created today fall in the non-routine category.

If you have used Grammarly, you can most likely relate to the benefits of digital transformation. Grammarly automates the job of and replaces the need for a human proofreader. Instead of sending a file to someone to review and edit, you just plop your text into Grammarly as soon as you are ready, and it identifies errors and offers helpful edits instantaneously.

Automation has also reduced the number of call center operators. Consider how many options you have to get an answer to a question before needing to speak with a human being.   Automated bots interact with knowledge databases to answer high-volume, frequently asked questions without the need to talk live with someone, significantly reducing the number of jobs in this field. And are you wondering how to automate a house cleaner’s job? The iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner, which navigates a house without the assistance of a human, is just one example.

The primary responsibility of most jobs today is to improve something, like internal or external processes, design strategies or plans to achieve goals, and then successfully execute them or create custom solutions to client problems.

Think about a software engineer job today. These positions require specific technical capabilities, that’s true. But a review of job descriptions for this job type reveals that the “what you’ll do” portion focuses on things like:

  • Collaborating across agile teams
  • Monitoring and learning emerging tech trends
  • Analyze requirements and develop concepts for new applications
  • Effectively communicate the benefits of the new application to persuade others to adopt it

And then, the job description gets to the programming languages and other tech tool knowledge needed.

So, although these are highly technical jobs, only about a fourth of the job description’s “what you’ll do” refers to coding or engaging with other technical tools. The comprehensive skill set required for this job includes:

  • Collaboration, which requires effective communication and relationship building
  • Continuous learning and adaptability
  • Critical thinking, problem-solving, and focus to understand
  • And coding languages and technical tool knowledge

And these types of job responsibilities are broader than software engineering jobs. Consider how people spend their day in jobs like marketing, finance, sales, customer service, nurses, doctors, project managers, wait staff, and beauticians. Practically every job spends time interacting with others, listening to understand their needs, brainstorming ideas to fix a problem, or finding ways to take advantage of an opportunity. And then influencing others to support your idea or persuading others to move forward with it, whether it is a customer or coworker.

I started my career as an accountant, and the tasks I completed daily then have been automated. Today, I would be expected to analyze the financial health of my organization and make suggestions on how to improve or protect it. This responsibility requires deep knowledge of all functions of the business and building collaborative relationships to brainstorm and propose financially beneficial ideas that do not negatively impact other parts of the organization.

These new job responsibilities create a new career skills profile, which expands beyond our natural intelligence and the technical skills we acquired thanks to our intellect. At Brize, we refer to this career skills profile as I3, which integrates intelligence, intention, and interaction.

We leverage our intelligence in our continuous learning activities, whether to develop a new skill, change habits, or adjust our attitudes.

Intention is how we work, specifically how we take in and process information. Interaction is about how we relate to our work environment, coworkers, customers, or partners. It is our attitude about how to work.

These cognitive skills and mindsets help us to:

  • Understand how we think and process information.
  • Effectively present ideas and take actions that illustrate strategic thinking.
  • Understand how we show up at work, meaning how we behave and, even more importantly, how our coworkers interpret our behaviors, and
  • Build positive mindsets, such as resilience and optimism, to overcome conflict and adversity, which is inevitable at work.

Here is a closer look at each of these new career profile categories.

Strategic Thinking: Strategic thinking empowers us to control our job focus and career paths. Superior strategic thinking is the ability to understand a vague idea, vision, goal, or task purpose. In other words, we know the what and why from our boss or other leaders, and then we can define strategies or develop plans to achieve them. A deep understanding of our organization’s goals and purpose guides our strategic thinking and ability to contribute favorably to our organization. It requires focus and successful movement through the four critical thinking stages.

Demonstrate Strategic Thinking: Being seen as a strategic thinker requires an ability to organize information, present it in an easily understood way, recognize when others do not understand, make adjustments in our presentation, so they do, and take action to achieve goals without being told to do so. AKA, taking initiative.

Collaborative Behaviors: To work productively and collaborate effectively with our colleagues, we first need to understand how our co-workers interpret our behaviors and actions. We also need to understand our work style and the different work styles, uniquely human traits, and work stress sources of our colleagues to know best how and when to engage and interact. This vital knowledge leads to positive, productive interactions by eliminating unnecessary frustration, misunderstanding, and conflict.

Positive Mindsets: Negative emotions or mindsets, such as pessimism, anxiety, or fear, can paralyze us, only seeing the challenges of implementing new ideas, fear of making mistakes, or being wrong. Negative mindsets can cloud our thinking, block our abilities to see the possibilities, and stall progress. When we approach work with an optimistic, confident attitude, we eliminate these barriers to achieving our goals.

Skills and Mindset for each:

How well do you currently match this new career skills profile? Brize includes a discovery questionnaire for each topic that helps our users start their self-discovery journey to achieving this new career profile.