The Future Requires a Collaborative Skill-Set


I’ve been reading about automation, technology, robotics, AI, big data, etc., and I find these emerging trends interesting and useful, but what does this mean for future jobs?

I know these emerging trends are going to replace many future jobs, but what is overlooked is that people’s input will still be needed for the work technology cannot do. Technology has its limitations, it cannot:

  • Actively listen to understand meaning and enable effective communication.
  • Think creatively to create innovative ideas and solve problems.
  • Think critically to turn data into meaningful information and then knowledge.
  • Develop collaborative teams.
  • Build trust and understanding within groups.

So, what this means is that we need a broader set of skills that are transferrable from one role or business to another – Group Facilitation Skills. As a Group Facilitator, people tell me that they work better face-to-face because, as helpful as technology is, it is a barrier to collaboration. Interpersonal communication is 56% non-verbal and that is lost through technology. People need to chat to develop a social connection. This connection helps them build trust and understanding.

Technology helps with large volumes of information, repetitive tasks, analysis, etc. If we embrace it and use it to provide us with assistance, then it becomes a useful tool and if we don’t, then it becomes a barrier. Speaking with my father, a portrait photographer, he said that because of the proliferation of digital cameras in our phones, anyone can capture an image, but they cannot compose the image – that requires human input. He is right and this is applicable to all technology.

What this means for future jobs is that regardless of what you do, what will set you apart and keep you viable are Group Facilitation skills – these universally applicable skills are important to your success. Technology cannot replace this collaborative skill-set because it cannot duplicate interpersonal and social interaction or group facilitation skills.

Author: Gary Rush

Gary Rush, IAF CPF is Founder & CEO of MGR Consulting since 1985 becoming a leading facilitator and facilitator trainer creating his own facilitation technique - FAST revolutionizing it with FoCuSeD™ - a unique approach to structured facilitation transforming the facilitation industry. He has trained thousands of people from more than 18 countries, and has delivered his structured facilitation class in 8 countries within North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. His students have gone on to become CEOs and CIOs, crediting their success to the people and process skills gained in his facilitator training classes. He has written numerous “how to” books covering facilitation, collaborative leadership, strategic planning, data modeling, etc. During a hiatus from consulting, Gary owned and was "Chef" of a highly acclaimed restaurant in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico – MG Rush dba Mirácles Restaurant. Gary has facilitated significant workshops including the first strategic plan for the combined EDS/GM organization. He facilitated Star Alliance where they identified that in-flight Wi-Fi was possible – a critical service offering on airlines today. He facilitated and trained Texas Joint Military Forces in Strategic Planning, creating their 2035 Strategic Plan. Reviewing this 4-page plan, the length of the U.S. Constitution, is now part of their monthly meetings – something they were unable to do previously. He is an IAF CPF Assessor and former IAF Chair. Gary also formed and led the IAF Chicago Chapter, the second IAF chapter to be established in the U.S. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He holds a BS from Excelsior College.

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