Phil Hauck's TEC Blog

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

About "Becoming Generation Flux"

        I love it when local friends develop a book (a massive undertaking), and Miles Anthony Smith has just completed ANOTHER one (he did Why Leadership Sucks a few years back).
Generation Flux, he explains, is named by Fast Company writer Robert Safian as he explains that those who will thrive during the next two decades will be those who can adapt quickly to “fluidity” from one paradigm to the next.  Those without this capability will survive, but constantly struggle and it won’t be a pretty sight.  Most organizations are ill-suited for this “fluidity,” especially larger ones … so be prepared to watch and live within lots of organizational withering and splitting, and lots of re-birth.
He is very forceful on the point that government policies aren’t helping people at lower income levels to make this change.  Policies in many states actually dis-incent people to pursue a job or get training at all; welfare payments not infrequently total more than starting wages in many occupations.  
Political efforts to solve the “problem” are often, simply stupid.  One egregious example:  In 2011, politicians placed a high tariff on foreign tires to save tire-manufacturing jobs.  They saved 1200 jobs at most, at a cost of $900,000 per job saved. 
He makes the point that education is key to advancement (actually, continuing education), and goes over the “cost of education” tradeoff with “lifelong earnings gain”.  One quote:  When looking at a potential employer, the main thing to ask is “Is there a culture of learning?  If the answer is yes, then you are probably in a good place.   If no, then find a way to learn and grow, so you can find another army to march with.”  Concentrate on the people skills that machines can’t copy.
A proper role of government, Miles says, is to try to foster "equal economic opportunity … and stop trying to engineer equal economic results."
In other words, don’t look outside yourself for help in dealing with the fast-changing marketplace.  Have skills that are useful from job-to-job, and even industry-to-industry.
Other of his points:
•  Only 40 million Gen Xers are replacing 80 million Baby Boomers, so there is great opportunity for leadership positions!  Indeed, the following Gen Y cohort is also quite small, so there will be great opportunity for them … and even the huge Millenials right behind.
•  For first-job seekers, make sure you have the needed digital technology skills to perform it.
Much of the book is self-help, providing a context for the job-seeking and job-holding efforts, and pointers for being successful at them.

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