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Nine business and leadership skills you need in 2017


The World Economic Forum (WEF) says in the next five years, five million jobs will be lost to automation.


It takes a skill to deal with subordinates, team players, or partners. Power and authority comes not only with money, but the responsibility to handle it appropriately
It takes a skill to deal with subordinates, team players, or partners. Power and authority comes not only with money, but the responsibility to handle it appropriately

Changes in technology and globalisation are rapid and that needs people to retool and be relevant in in leadership and business.

These days, if you finish your university studies, you will be frustrated to realise that there is no job created for you, but instead you should create your own. It is not business as usual.

In an article called the Future of Jobs, WEF said: “The question, then, is how business, government and individuals will react to these developments. To prevent a worst-case scenario — technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality — reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers will be critical.

“While much has been said about the need for reform in basic education, it is simply not possible to weather the current technological revolution by waiting for the next generation’s workforce to become better prepared. Instead it is critical that businesses take an active role in supporting their current workforces through re-training, that individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning and that governments create the enabling environment, rapidly and creatively, to assist these efforts.”

It’s an open secret that we are being confronted by new realities, technological alterations, economical upheavals, climate uncertainties and new social setups. We shouldn’t be caught on the wrong side of things. The most dangerous and unfortunate aspect that some companies should confront head-on are so-called “bosses” or “managers” towering above them like dinosaurs, but unequipped to survive in the environment we live in.

Secondly, our educational institutions in Zimbabwe and Africa should be reconfigured to suit these new changes. The personnel development industry is indeed coming in handy in closing the gap between our tertiary institutions and industry.
Ultimately, all these new challenges and changes need new skills and an ever-learning mindset

Below are some of the skills noted to be essential for the future:

Cognitive skills

This pertains to thinking or intellectual reasoning. Leadership and business is all about thinking. Think about new trends that you need to bring to the market.

According Bob Proctor, a speaker and author, thinking involves imagination — to have a vivid image of the future in the mind and reasoning — the power to think all we want. A leader’s major role is to make quality and beneficial decisions.

Problems come up and leaders at times have to take risks. The leader has to find solutions to problems that have arisen. At times, the leader has to foresee “possible problems” before they set in.

Problem solving

The ability to solve any problem gives you a competitive advantage and edge over those that are not able to solve them. We get paid more for solving complex problems. This faculty has to be improved if ever you wanted to earn more.

In a work environment, you are needed to the level you solve problems. How easy is it to replace you at work? The level of your problem solving will determine how hard or easy it is to replace you.


Money is with people. Invest in relationships that will add value to you or your organisation. I have since realised that most money flows in relationships and partnerships.

Leadership skills

Worldwide, there are fewer leaders than followers. John Quincy Adams once said, when your actions inspire others to do more, dream more and become more, you are a leader.

In these times of change, leadership is being transferred to the unlikely people, because they have invented “positive disruptions”. Leadership is the heart-beat of the whole organisation.

It takes a skill to deal with subordinates, team players, or partners. Power and authority comes not only with money, but the responsibility to handle it appropriately. This is the power to empower others.

Internet governance/computational skills

One essential skill that one cannot do without is the ability to process large volumes of information in a short space of time. Internet is a tool you can use to reach audiences that you might not have a chance to meet.

Become a trusted source of valuable information online. Publish consistently and post what is in line with your brand. Traditional newspapers are losing advertising revenue because adverting on life has become a lot cheaper if it’s not for free.

Technology is developing at breakneck speed. It is no secret that the internet presence or awareness plays a pivotal role as most of our middle-aged and young consumers spend most of their times online. By 2013, there were over five billion mobile phone users and 11 billion used smartphones. This is proof that more and more people are joining the internet and consumption trends are changing.

Even though some people might not have access to the internet, the future is replete with signs of definite technological change. Internet presence is crucial and the basic step is to have a website and the use of social networks becomes crucial.

There is a social media revolution. A good example is #ThisFlag phenomenon. It grew because of social media and the proved that we can’t ignore the power of social media.

Social skills building

Business is now a global game and international collaborations are becoming the order of the day. Social skills are becoming important, hence, the term social entrepreneurship. To win in business and in leadership you have to be social friendly.

Entrepreneurial skills

Today’s leader needs to be creative and inventive. An entrepreneurial mindset helps to be ready for change and take sensible risks. Profits are possible when there is an entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurs have the ability to see opportunities and profit from them.

Sales skills

The ability to convince someone to buy your product or services is important. We make profits directly proportionate to sales. Your ability to negotiate, convince and close a sale becomes crucial especially with more people providing a similar product.

Learning skills

Learning is lifelong. All the skills above are hinged on learning. It’s not only about acquiring information, but learning important and relevant aspects in the shortest possible time. Read business journals relevant to your field and catch up with relevant trends, tools and techniques. Townsend once said: “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and leadership trainer. He is the author of Inspiration for Success and Success Within Reach.

Email: jonah@classicmail.co.za. Twitter @jonahnyoni

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