The Fourth Industrial Revolution will cause all businesses to change. And it’ll also see some businesses ceasing to exist. One of the biggest fears that modern leaders have when it comes to the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that we are facing volatile, uncertain and ambiguous times. We have a pretty good idea of where we’re headed but no one really knows what we’re going to get when we actually arrive there.
So what should leaders be doing to prepare for the great unknown?
I believe that it all starts with looking at your current workforce and then trying to predict what the future workforce will look like in your industry. For example, we already know that something like artificial intelligence (AI) could one day be used to draw up contracts and other legal documents. What does this mean for the legal fraternity? And how can business executives at the top law firms prepare their associates for this change?
Ultimately, the best leaders will address the uncertainty around the Fourth Industrial Revolution head on. And they’ll do so, today. It is critical to innovate, experiment and try out new things. It’s likely that you will fail; probably more than once. But you need to be agile so that when the Fourth Industrial Revolution really gets going, you’ll be ready to adapt.
A shift in the value of skills
No conversation about the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be had without mentioning the controversial topic of jobs and potential job losses. Many are worried about what will happen to more unskilled, manual labourers once the Fourth Industrial Revolution really starts to take shape. Successful leaders will help these workers to market their skills in new ways.
If you consider the fact that everything will be automated, mechanised and standardised, I predict that more niche, handmade products will actually become incredibly popular. In this way, those with the manual skills that were replaced by robots will still be able to use their competencies but they’ll be doing so for a different market and in a different environment. If a machine in a factory makes every loaf of bread, I think that people will start to seek out a loaf of bread that is not mass produced; bread that is made with imperfections, by a human and free from a digital touch. In the future, I think that we’ll have more respect for people who work with their hands. And because of the rarity of their skills, these workers will be able to charge a lot more money for the loaves of bread they create.Baking bread in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Every month, I share my thoughts on business and leadership on the Nebula blog. You can check out some of my posts, here. Or if you’d like to have these insights delivered straight to your inbox you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter by completing the form below.