SKILLS THAT MATTER
We are witnessing unprecedented times in our lives. The COVID-19 outbreak has completely changed the world as we know it. The people have been forced to remain locked in their homes for months, and it has affected their physical and mental health. Millions have lost their jobs and the unemployment rate is at an all-time high in countries from India to the USA. Historic events such as the COVID-19 outbreak, will have a lasting effect on humanity, and this unique time of the pandemic will leave us with many lessons to learn in life and management of businesses. The seven management skills that must be taught in B-Schools to make budding managers better equipped to face challenges affecting businesses, during a pandemic.
The first skill they should learn is to prioritize the tasks. Smaller short-term benefit providing tasks need to be jettisoned paving the way for larger projects and long-term objectives. They should be taught that, if things are not going their way not to lose heart and trying while keeping eye on the larger goals. Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, maintained that change is the only constant in nature. The biggest lesson COVID-19 has taught is that life is full of uncertainties and one needs to be prepared to deal with them. We need to fortify ourselves with new technologies, keep us updated, and identify different goals.
Thus, the second must have skill a management graduate should acquire is change management. Suddenly, we have started hearing about the Spanish Flu and how it affected mankind. We are also witnessing how the experience from the past about managing a different strain of coronavirus made South Korea better armed to tackle the COVID-19. This pandemic will provide us with many exemplary case studies on how businesses failed or succeeded in this pandemic. The managerial students should develop a keen eye and learn a lesson or two from such examples which will give them a hint on what the future holds for them.
To manage unforeseen situations organization, need to innovate faster. As we have seen, the learning curve for digital technologies has drastically reduced. The pandemic has changed the way essential services like health care and education are being delivered. The present approach adopted focuses on physical distancing and digital proximity (PDDP) as a result, online shopping of the essential supplies is at an all-time high. Now businesses should innovate to pave the way for service delivery similar or better than traditional service delivery. The ability to innovate and provide effective solutions for unanticipated problems should be the fourth skill a management graduate should learn.
The prevailing tension between India and China has resulted in escalated anger in India. The people are calling for boycotting Chinese products. The Government has banned 59 mobile apps citing security concerns as a reason behind the move. If your business is dependent on the raw materials from China, your supply chain is at risk. Hence, maintaining the balance between global and local should be the fifth skill a B-School graduate should acquire.
Leadership matters, and a manager should demonstrate these skills during tough times. Gone are the days of managers barking orders and expecting employees to dutifully abide. Accountability, responsibility, and transparency are on the rise in the business world. The manager is required to be sensitive, compassionate and demonstrate self-awareness. Thus, Leadership is the sixth skill; I would recommend a manager to learn in a B-School, if at all it could be taught.
A manager should learn to perform a stress test of the organization, in expectation of a sudden outbreak of calamities like COVID-19. The manager should have the desired knowledge and sensitivity to anticipate the different risks an organization could face. They should also have the ability to prepare the risk mitigation strategy for these identified risks. Thus, managing the risk is the seventh skill a manager should acquire. Finally, it is difficult to predict the future with certainty, but we can acquire the above-mentioned skills to be better prepared for the challenges. The future doesn’t always unfold as per our plan, thus, lamenting about the past is futile. Henceforth, living in the present, and preparing for the future should be the new mantra of the current times.
- Skills: www.elearningindustry.com
- Skills – B school: www.flexjobs.com