How To Upskill Your Workforce

How to Upskill your Workforce

Upskill Your Workforce: Building A Culture Of Curiosity

Today I want to talk to you about how to upskill your workforce.


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Hi, it’s James Taylor, keynote speaker and founder of SuperCreativityU.

-How To Upskill Your Workforce


Now, I was having a conversation the other day with a senior leader from an organization. And we were just talking about some of the different challenges the organization’s going through just now. And he said to me, James, what I’m really interested in right now is how to take all the workforce that I have just now, and transition that into the workforce that I need, that I require now. Now, the reason for these changes why he feels like he’s got a workforce, which is not really set up for the kind of organization they’re going to become, is because we’re seeing lots of changes in the industry, in business, we’re seeing things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, in every industry, we’re seeing pretty much disruption just now. So this requires a number of different things. Because people have maybe come into the organization, they might have been an organization for 5 10 25 years. And they came with a set of skills that were very useful. And maybe they’ve developed their skills a little bit over time to become better, more proficient at what they do. But we’re moving to a completely new paradigm. And for senior decision-makers and leaders, they do have a decision to make, do I take some of these people? And do I reach the skill we need to train them? Or do I actually have to almost edit the workforce? And, and it’s a horrible thing to think about, but actually have to let some people go in order to bring new ideas into the organization’s new ways, new practices, new ways of doing things. 

Now, my general preference is always to take the workforce you have and remold that workforce. And really, because I also feel that it’s if you, hopefully, you’ve hired for attitude, you and they’ve understood the culture that really built into the culture of your organization. So their attitude is really good, they’re motivated, they have a care, they have institutional knowledge of your organization, it’s just as a couple of things that they could really be doing to improve in automating them that workforce of the future that you’re looking for. So there’s a couple of things that leaders will tend to do here, then think about how to transition the workforce that they have to the workforce that they need. 

Skills Development

The first one is always skills development. But soft skills development or hard skills development. And this is one of the things I would say about that is especially in the hard skills development, let’s say you’ve got these 20 employees that you know that they need to be rescaled. Now, for lots more kinds of marketing automation, they’ve been doing things a certain way, needing more marketing, automation tools, more understanding of analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, you do have to do, there’s a certain amount of procedure and skills train. But actually, I don’t think that skills development is always the most critical thing in the longer term for your workforce. 

Curiosity Development

The most critical thing in the longer term for your workforce is not skills development. But curiosity development, is getting your people to always be asking questions and thinking, what next? Being curious, because curiosity and creativity and innovation are linked. So it was a curiosity as a start asking questions, links into creativity, which is about bringing new ideas to the mind, which then links into innovation, which is bringing new ideas to the world with your products and services. But starting with curiosity is one of the reasons one of my clients is Accenture, the global professional services firm. And Julie sweet, who’s the new head of Accenture. She said there are two things that she’s really looking to develop in her people now. Leadership and curiosity, leadership being able to extend the organization to build motivation to inspire to improve collaboration, but curiosity, which is really around asking questions. Peter Drucker, the management theorist, said the most problems in management decisions are not trying to find the right answer, but it’s really about you’re asking the wrong question. So they need to spend more time finding the right question to ask. Albert Einstein said it in a slightly different way. Someone once asked him if he had an hour to solve a problem, how he would use that hour and he said, I would spend the first 55 minutes thinking about what the question should be. Once I knew what the real question was, I could probably solve that problem in five minutes. 

Building Culture Of Curiosity

So this is the key skill. This for transitioning that workforce from where they are now to where you want them to get them is building this culture of curiosity in the organization about asking questions now. Some people in your organization, their curiosity muscles may have become a little

bit flabby. Over the years, let’s say a little bit of a week off. As you get further up into an organization, you’re expected to have all the answers all the time. So you’re not really asking maybe as many questions or at least, if you’re not a good leader, maybe you’re not asking as many questions as good leaders, are all levels I see are always asking questions or always being curious. 

If you want some advice on how to do this, and advice on how to start really transitioning that workforce from where they are now to where they want to go, then please reach out to me and my team at We work with lots of organ ag organizations that can really help spark that sense of curiosity, that creativity, that innovative mindset, but just now, I want you to think about your team that you have. And I want you to think about not just the hard skills you need to develop in them. But how can you think about developing those softer skills in them, skills like creativity, skills, like collaboration, critical thinking skills, but importantly, how can you develop that sense of curiosity so they can go and find the future questions, they’re going to be important to your organization.

-How To Upskill Your Workforce


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