Skills of the Modern Age

My youngest child started High School two weeks ago and last night we had the opportunity to hear from the teaching staff on how they approach the education of the children in their care.

Below is an extract from the email we received from the Principle this week (school name has been removed):

“Much More than Marks”, “Learning for Life” and the “[school name] Difference” have become aphorisms within our college. However, what is it that makes us different? What does it mean to learn for life?

At [school name] we must embody these statement and we must continue to equip our students with the confidence to use a blend of talents and knowledge to achieve their potential in their personal and working lives. Generic rather than narrow capabilities will be essential in the 21st Century workplace.

Therefore, at [school name] we must continue to develop a strong and positive foundation for lifelong learning. We must continue to collaboratively prepare our students for flexible and adaptive life pathways.  As your child’s principal I will strive to develop their social and emotional resilience and provide a challenging and caring learning environment to enable them to thrive in society’s fast-changing social environment and to support them to be active and constructive participants in both civic and economic life. “

On the classroom walls were posters encouraging the children to ask questions, to challenge, to open up their thinking.  The ‘Growth Mindset’ was mentioned on a number of occasions by various members of staff.  These are the Skills of the Modern Age (this term is being used with kind permission of Nate Sturcke founder of SOMA)

Based on this, I feel very positive about the future, not only for our children but for the country as a whole.  However, that is the future, what about today?

That is a very different story.  The headlines contain disturbing examples of toxic work environments, where bullying is commonplace and sexual harassment goes unchecked and unchallenged.  Where the mental health of employees is reaching crisis point and productivity at historic lows.  Where business is conducted based on ‘who you know’ and not on the value people can add.

I believe, to help us survive the next 10-20 years until the new generation of business, community and political leaders emerge, the solution lies with how organisations support life-long learning.  With a focus on learning as opposed to training.

During my education, (and I assume people older and slightly younger than me) the purpose of going to school was for me to gain knowledge.  The measure of success was generally based on how well I had remembered that content with much less emphasis on how well I could apply it.  There was no time spent on understanding what my natural talents were or anything about life-long learning.

However, I was fortunate to grow up in a family that recognised education was not just about passing exams but on the learning process itself and personal growth.  This gave me a life skill of always wanting to learn – to experiment with new ideas, get out of my comfort zone and to take the hard knocks as opportunities to learn.  A life-long learner.

If we are going to transform economies and the well-being in our communities, then we need a paradigm shift in our organisations.    And this is not just about engaging consultant to help us with implementing the latest trend or management fad.  This is about systemic and transformational change.

“It is a commonly held belief that real transformation happens when we truly understand our value and beliefs because these motivate behaviour.” Ro Gorell, Group Coaching.

The current leadership models based on the industrial revolution and classical management has to change.  Where leaders embrace their vulnerability, recognise the talent in their organisations – not by paying lip-service but by true servant leadership, and nurture a culture of life-long learning.  This is not going to be easy as the underlying systems – political, social and economic will need to change at the same time.

We work to help individuals and organisations to make this paradigm shift.  We help to liberate and optimise talent in order to create transformational change.  We do this through our learning programmes such as Lean Change Foundation and Lean Change Agent and our group and individual coaching and mentoring programmes.

The Lean Change Foundation and Lean Change Agent are not about certification; they are about deep learning.  Yes, you get to learn how to use light-weight visual tools and a process you can follow, but the real value comes from what you learn about yourself in a safe environment.   Where you can experiment without being judged and where you have the support of experienced coaches and facilitators.

To find out when and where you can start your own Lean Change journey visit our website at

Change Optimised

Change Optimised

Our mission is to ignite the entrepreneurial DNA of your organisation to help you make sense of a complex and uncertain future and to ensure your people have the foundational skills for the future of work.

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