By Adenike Babajamu
That digital and AI technologies are transforming the world of work is no longer news. It is also not news that today’s workforce will need to learn and master new skills, and continuously adapt as new opportunities emerge. Several researches including ongoing ones have identified the kind of jobs that may be lost and those that will be created as automation, AI and robotics take over. The dynamics in the developing countries like Nigeria and other African countries may be slightly different and transition a bit slower from that of the developed world, nevertheless even for the developing countries, it can no longer be business as usual.
The need for manual, physical and basic cognitive skills are bound to be on the decline as we climb through the year 2023 into the future. It will be matched by a steady increase in the demand for technological, social, emotional and high cognitive skills. While it is true that machine cannot do everything, to be productive in this age of automation, one would require a range of human skills from technological expertise to essential social and emotional capabilities. Gone are the days when you acquire two or three educational degrees and expect to use it to work for another 30 years. We will all have to continue to adapt, get new skills or possibly go for other types of training different from our degrees. Let me paint a scenario of the changes that has begun to take place.
During the Covid 19, I visited the local private hospital that I had been using for more than two decades and the transformation I saw was quite dramatic. Their process had changed and was fully automated, paperwork was almost completely eliminated. I noticed that some of the staff were new and was amazed to see one of the previously engaged hospital attendant sitting smartly behind a system and capturing data. She had up her skills. The Customer Service also improved tremendously and I could easily identify people skills among the staff who had none in the past. Of course those who couldn’t cope were the ones I didn’t see. They had been laid off.
Since Covid 19, several changes had taken place in the world of work. By the way, contrary to the expectations of many, the future of work is not a destination. It is continuously evolving and very dynamic. For any organization to remain in business therefore, they must adapt to the new development of technology. Similarly for anyone to remain employable, he/she must upskill and reskill. It is important to note that you don’t get drown in a pool simply because you fell in the water, you drowned because you do not know how to swim.
I tell people that you do not fail exams because you did not know anything, but you failed because you didn’t know enough to pass. A few weeks from now and the year will roll over. Year 2023, or rather the future will answer only to those who aspire to do better and do things differently. As we know, you do not do things the same way and expect a different result. The summary is to hone our skills if we must excel in the new year and the future of work which is continuously evolving. This is the time to identify those skills and take concrete steps to actualize them.
Whatever skills we choose to hone must be:
- Adding value beyond what automated systems and intelligent machines can do
- Must be operated and useful in a digital environment
- Must be adaptable to new ways of working
- Must be adaptable to new roles or occupation.
There is no hard and fast rule as to the number of skills that may be required to survive in this new world of work. The secret is flexibility and openness to learn. Below are some of the skill that may be relevant.
- High level Cognitive skills: This include ability to think critically and logically in such a way that will result in proffering structured solutions to work related problems. It also includes cognitive flexibility; ability to adapt to change and conceptualize complex multiple ideas all at once. (ideation)
- Strong Communication skills: Knowing how to ask the right questions, ability to listen actively, learn new things, process information fast and efficiently to maximize output.
- Critical thinking and analytic skills that will result in timely problem solving and ideation
- High level interpersonal skills that will mobilize systems, develop strong work relationships; promote teamwork effectiveness, foster inclusiveness, collaboration, enhance mentor-mentee activities etc.
- Digital literacy is not optional. These include software uses, understanding of data analysis, cybersecurity
- Leadership skills. This must include self-awareness and self-management; ability to manage own emotions, self-control, take ownership and be decisive.
- Entrepreneur skills : Be able to break barriers of tradition, not just thinking outside the box but breaking the box of limitations to take quality risks. Must be energetic bold and passionate about convictions. Develop an achievement mentality.
- Creativity, originality and ability to take initiatives.
- Emotional and Social intelligence; These are unique human capabilities that cannot be replaced by machines. It includes qualities like empathy resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.
- Judgement and decision making skills. This is the subjective side of data analytics. Machines will not be able to do this.
The list is endless and the expectations of employers are also evolving. There is no one cap fits all hence the need for continuous training and re-training.
Let me conclude by saying, the future of work is not a destination or an end in itself it is evolving, dynamic and the demands will continue to vary. Only the dynamic employee will be able to take advantage and maximize top notch earnings from the opportunities that the future of work offers. If you don’t want to drown in the pool then learn to swim. Time to hone our skills to next levels.
By Peter Babajamu
August 30, 2022
In the construction world, where there is a massive influx of personnel (skilled and unskilled), professionals from the Engineering world, and across construction technology, there lies a responsibility for proper coordination. A General Contractor (GC) is responsible for managing financial resources, human resources (sub-contractors, trades, vendors), and time constraints to complete a project. As simple as this sounds, it is a complex chain of events broken down to the slightest activity possible to capture and account for all areas.
The first step required before construction could take place is the conceptualization of an idea. The client or owner has typically referred to, conceives an intention to improve their structure or/and infrastructure that will positively impact their business or way of life directly or indirectly. These ideas may include and are not limited to developing a new structure, expanding an existing structure, renovating a structure, procuring new facilities for infrastructure, etc. It takes a while to conceive and implement such ideas.
For an integrated project delivery (IPB), the owner generally seeks the services of a group or company of licensed consultants consisting of an Architect, a Structural Engineer, a Mechanical Engineer, and an Electrical Engineer. Depending on the gravity and nature of the job that is to take place, other consultants may be required. The consultants help prepare and translate the owner’s expectations into detailed documents. These documents include project specifications, design drawings, contracts, and standard codes related to each deliverable.
The first set of documents is not issued immediately for construction. Still, it is used as part of a tender process to allow the owner to employ the services of the victorious General Contractor (through a bid selection process). In addition, the first set of documents is required to obtain the necessary permits needed before the actual construction can be allowed to proceed.
From the General Contractor’s perspective, the first step after receiving an invitation to bid (Request for Proposal) is the preliminary phase, usually referred to as the Preconstruction phase. The Preconstruction phase is the design phase where the General Contractor studies and understand the initial set of construction documents, prepare a budget, and provide a detail on the building methodology, schedule, risk, safety techniques, logistics, human resources, etc. required to execute the project. There are meetings from time to time between the owner, consultants, and General Contractor in other to foster communication about the project. The meetings usually result in issuing addendums adding new information or removing previous information from the construction documents. The GC usually requires assessing the existing condition of the proposed job site to aid budgeting.
The preconstruction phase allows the owner to assess whether the project is constructible and helps to identify value engineering alternatives, green building options, and cost-saving options.
It also helps in the overall selection of the General Contractor showing the highest level of capability and not necessarily the cheapest.
The preconstruction phase can take as long as three months, depending on the size and scope of the job. Hence, the GC has a team that handles the requirements for this phase. The team typically consists of an estimator(s), procurement agent, site superintendent, a logistic coordinator and is headed by a preconstruction manager. The estimators are responsible for preparing the bill of engineering, management, and evaluation (BEME) or bill of quantity (BOQ) which provides a breakdown of the cost of materials, labor/services, and equipment for the project. The procurement agent handles negotiating and preparing the contracts that would be required in case the services of a vendor or subcontractor are required for additional budgetary information.
The site superintendent, in this case, represents the operations team. They provide information on the general requirements, general conditions considered, and the logistics that need to be put in place to achieve the overall goal. In addition, they prepare the schedule and identify lead times which can slow down the project.
The logistic coordinator is responsible for identifying and pricing priority equipment that dramatically impacts the project’s cost and time. Although they play a significant role in the construction phase, they are sometimes part of the preliminary phase.
The preconstruction manager organizes the team, represents the GC in meetings, and organizes the final bid document (bid submission form, bid information form, prequalification documents, assumptions, and clarification).
As soon as the bid document is submitted to the owner, the owner selects the General Contractor to execute the job based on several factors. Although it is typical and even a government requirement for public projects to select the lowest bid to remove bias, there is little freedom to consider additional factors.
Emotional intelligence remains one of the most prized hallmark of great leaders. How many times have you had to react in anger and frustration at your team members or direct support on their failure, poor performance and inadequacy in meeting the demands of their tasks? I bet severally; but how did you do it? Did you shout at them, banged on the table or even assaulted them emotionally? Most often, we do some of these in a bid to express our frustration. Unfortunately the outcome of our outbursts are negative impacts on all parties.
Without a balanced emotional intelligence, an executive with excellent strategies, best training in the world, great innovations, an incisive analytical mind, smart and highly intelligent ideas will fail to make a great leader. It has been proven over time that people with extreme display of negative emotions have never emerged as drivers of good leadership. We have several examples of highly intelligent and highly skilled managers who earned their promotions into leadership positions only to fail at the job because of unbalanced emotions. It is also not uncommon to have not-too intelligent executives soaring at their new positions simply by their abilities to manage emotions intelligently.
Very often many leaders realize at the end of the day that their outburst were way overboard. However, the damage would have been done and a damage control thereafter would not completely erase the effect. What then is the solution? Are people born with certain levels of emotional intelligence or do they acquire a balanced emotional intelligence as a result of training or life’s experiences? In other words, can emotional intelligence be learnt?
Like leadership traits, emotional intelligence can be innate and also learnt. However it has also been proven that emotional intelligence increases with age in an old fashioned phenomenon called maturity. It is believed that as one grows with age and experience, there is a tendency to empathize more as well as deal with issues more realistically.
It is nevertheless important to emphasize that building one’s emotional intelligence cannot happen without a sincere desire and determined effort. CEOs are to lead in the direction of emotional intelligence training of their staff. This is because emotional intelligence does not only distinguishes outstanding leaders but can also be linked to strong organizational performance. There is a direct link between an organization’s success and the emotional intelligence of its leaders and their team
Daniel Goleman Identified five components of emotional intelligence at work that may also be applied to our private lives;
- Self-Awareness- The ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others
- Self-regulation- The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. The propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting
- Motivation- A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence
- Empathy- The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. Skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions
- Social skill- Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. An ability to find common ground and build rapport
All of these five components are recommended to be incorporated not just in the training programs of an organization but must also be considered in the recruitment and onboarding of new hires. Now this does not in any way replace the competency requirements of technical skills and relevant qualifications. Rather, it should be seen as a compliment or the icing on the cake for the making of an efficient workforce required to meet the demands of this age.
It would therefore be unwise to think that strong intellectual capacity, expertise and technical ability are not important ingredients in strong leadership. But they would not be complete without a balanced emotional intelligence. The fact that emotional intelligence can be learned is an advantage that leaders should explore. The process may not be easy initially, but like all learning processes, it will take time, dedication and commitment to the process. It will also take lots of practice so that even when we fail, we do not give up on the process. Ultimately, the benefits that come from having a well-developed emotional intelligence, both for the individual and for the organization, make it worth the effort.
By Adenike Babajamu
Youths all around the world today are facing different challenges, difficulties and obstacles that have continually threatened their existence and redefined their identities. While both developed and developing countries have high rates of young people with mental and social problems, the youth living in poorer countries like Nigeria have more severe problems because of their inability to access basics such as food, education, primary healthcare, unemployment etc.
The International Youth Day (IYD) is meant to create awareness of these difficulties, embark on activities with the youth to resolve some of these problems and empower them to participate in public life so that they are prepared and equipped to contribute to society’s development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The theme for the International Youth Day 2022 is Intergenerational solidarity “Creating a World for All Ages
Youths in Nigeria fall between the Millennials and Gen Z (majorly Gen Z) They form the highest percentage of the Nigerian population. They represent the future of the nation and are at that age when the past heroes of our nation took crucial decisions on the existence of Nigeria. They are energetic, strong, versatile but according to the National Bureau of statistics, youth unemployment rate in Nigeria increased to 53.40 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.
This implies that many of our youth are unemployed, out of school, unskilled and economically unproductive. This notwithstanding, there is no doubt that the Nigerian Youth have great potentials and capabilities many of which are untapped and far below optimization.
Statistics of Nigerians thriving in developed worlds particularly in the fields of medicine, health care, engineering and business enterprises are proofs that given the right environment, Nigerian youths will equal or even supersede their counterparts in developed countries.
To create an environment for our youth to thrive, the solution lies in localizing the UN SDGs and making it attainable by year 2030. Unfortunately according to a UN report, this achievement have been set back by 4 years (globally) by the Covid 19 Pandemic. For us in Nigeria, we have been set farther backward by political instability, poor governance, the menace of banditry and the activities of Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, Niger Delta militants, kidnappers and a host of others. The realization of the SDGs by 2030 (about 8 years from now) seems like a mirage and near impossible feat for our nation.
This then mean that, while the Gen Z generation (the youth) will be required to play a major part in reinventing our society, its success goes beyond them and a collaboration is inevitable to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. We therefore need to leverage the full potential of all generations as solidarity across generations is key to sustainable development. There must be an alliance that will foster successful and equitable intergenerational relationships and partnership for the realization of the SDGs. We must ensure no one is left out or behind in the whole process.
Intergenerational solidarity will help to break down harmful stereotypes, bring communities closer together, synergise all efforts, dispel myths and create public space for dialogue. It cannot be business as usual for us as a nation. We need new approaches in education, workforces, politics, and socio economic development. While we all do have rights, we also have responsibilities. No generation can afford to remain on the fence.
What we are saying in essence is that there is strength in diversity (instead of just peanuts let’s go for mixed nuts). Our generation differences should be our strength and must be harnessed to solve our Nation’s problem. We all need to put aside differences occasioned by age, technology, culture, religion, policies and outdated structures to build bridges that connects and break down the silos. The SDGs affect everyone. Hunger, poverty and climate do not discriminate by age. In the words of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres “When young people are shut out of the decisions being made about their lives, or when older people are denied a chance to be heard, we all lose”
We all have responsibilities and indeed no generation is dispensable.
So firstly, How then can we bridge generation gap?
It starts with accepting our collective responsibilities Our youths must not just be seen as leaders of tomorrow but more importantly as PARTNERS of today. They have the potential to effectively transform the world into a better place for all. Therefore they must be provided with the necessary skills and opportunities needed to maximize that potential.
TO BRIDGE THE GAP THEREFORE , WE MUST
- we must be open to dialogue
- Avoid ageism against youth(discrimination against youth )
- stop social stereotypes (old people are weak and old fashioned/ young people are rascals and lack experience)
- Dialogue must lead to mutual respect
- Youth-led organizations and networks, in particular, should be supported and strengthened
- Mentoring (mentor/mentee relationship) submit to mentorship. Governance is not family business.
- Communication channels must be opened, accessible and free
- Create a structure that works
- Invest in Education
- Increased participation in civic and political rights. The youth must be integrated into the decision making mechanism at all levels.
- Build skills and capacity
- Create enabling environment (energy, security, access to credit that will promote; entrepreneurs, agriculture etc.
- Proper representations in meetings, policy design etc.
THEN WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE YOUTH?
Internationally and in the new dispensation our youths are blessed with great POTENTIALS. We must as youth leverage on this potentials to actualize the future we want to see. The youth’s ability to think critically, make changes, innovate and lead must be put to good use through;
- Continuous engagement and awareness among the youth (all spheres, the SDG must be taken beyond the classrooms, town hall meetings to motor parks, markets. A team is as strong as its weakest link)
- Taking responsibility (end to blame games)
- Demand accountability and good governance. These include accountability from our fellow youth who are occupying position
- Pay the price of sacrifice. There is always a price.
- Resilience; a never giving up spirit. This “japa” migration syndrome will not help our nation. People only thrive where there are problems by proffering solutions. What solutions are our youth going to proffer in the developed countries? At best they will be one of the crowd.
- Embrace self-development
- Representation; This must also be demanded
- Take advantage of technology with an understanding that technology is a medium to drive change but not the change itself
- Driving social progress and inspiring political change
- Playing a significant role in the implementation, monitoring and review of the Agenda as well as in
- Holding governments accountable
To achieve the SDGs we must be ready to tap into the enormous potentials of both the young and the old. We need people of all ages to join forces together to build a better world. The Youth which form the largest percentage of the Nation and the world at large cannot be pushed aside. It is time to bridge the intergenerational gaps and connect the dots. It is only then that the Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved.
COVID-19 has redefined the future of work in every organisation
•What specific skills do tomorrow’s administrators require to be accountable? •labor market is more automated, digital, and dynamic. •demand for technological, social, emotional, and higher cognitive skills will grow. •Greater responsibility for administrators to translate expected to actual performance. Only what gets measured, gets done.
That the year 2020 was the year when businesses became truly flexible is no longer news. The year witnessed dramatic change in many businesses such that previously restrictive work concepts as working from home, digital transformation and work-life balance became acceptable and in many cases accounted for business continuity.
Solutions such as online services, home delivery options, video conferencing and cloud computing kept businesses afloat. Business leaders had to make quick decisions; one of which was Pfizer’s ability to produce one of the first COVID-19 vaccines to receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in less than one year.
The trick of businesses and many CEOs in 2020 was mostly adapting in response to the challenges created by the outbreak of Covid 19 and dealing with the consequences.
With the year 2021, came a more aggressive trick of adapting proactively to the reality of the aftermath and continuous consequences of Covid 19 on businesses and the economies in general. The emphasis on digital transformation has become more intentional and not as a temporary solution as it was in 2020. Most CEOs have stepped back to review the spontaneous practices during the pandemic to see what works and can be adopted with many of such converted into policies and procedures that align with their corporate strategies.
In this last quarter of 2021, it is time for CEOs to shift focus on the future by not just adapting to change but anticipate change and assess what changes need to be made so that their businesses will thrive in the coming year.
Without any doubt year 2022 shall be a year of new opportunities to be explored only by those who are ready. This last quarter is the most apt time to brace up so as to have an early start in the coming year.
One of the areas that may draw attention of CEOs is the need for organization design; not reorganization or change of job tittles or job description but a redesign of systems, skills and strategy. Focus on the business strategy for the purpose of alignment may be required. In addition, systems must be designed to have clear policies and procedures which may be an offshoot of the post pandemic experience. To ensure performance the use of score cards, dash boards and effective KPIs are crucial.
One other thing that the pandemic has taught business owners is that many of the answers to uncertainty cannot be found in management theories. The business that will thrive in 2022 must therefore be ready to introduce Agile working conditions, redefine work as an activity we do and not just a place we go and must be willing to create a work space whether virtual or physical with matching appropriate practices, processes and technology.
For businesses that did not transform in the year 2021, next year will not be too late to catch up on the realities of the time. While transformation is a major shift in the organization’s capabilities and identity, it should be a welcome disruption that is expected to deliver valuable and competitive results that will help the business to build organizational agility.
While many of the developing countries like mine are battling with what to do about 5G and so called conspiracy theories, research is underway for the iteration of the 6G broadband with China in the lead.
— Read on
The world is indeed on a wild chase in digital transformation and only nations that are forward looking are positioned to play in this high tech race.
Today’s corporate organisations are saddled with the responsibilities of training and retraining their staff. Often times good hands are left out simply because of their lack of experience. Most modern organisations have come to realise that the so called “green” hands often become great personnel within the first year of hire.
What makes the difference is the investment in orientation training and on-boarding programs structured to introduce new hire to the basics of the organisation.
It is important that every new hire understands the structure of the organisation, his position in it and how he can chart a career path in the process. All of these are simplified in the orientation training.
New employees must be introduced to the basic admin and organisational skills as well as simple office etiquettes that will help them adjust in the new role.
This is what this presentation is about.
Unfortunately we are in a generation where everyone wants to stand out and be in the lead. This has led to very many unhealthy competitions and rivalries in families, private and public organizations.
Nothing beats team work in life. No leader can ever succeed without an efficient and effective team. Bob Morgan traces the success of the air force during world war 1 to team work. The story is the same today. Every real success in any endeavor is an outcome of teamwork.
what is teamwork? Teamwork is the collaborative or joint effort of a group of people with a common purpose and objective, to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way. It include members ability to work together, communicate effectively, anticipate and meet each other’s demands, and inspire confidence, resulting in a coordinated collective action.
While Teamwork calls for sustained leadership and goal orientation, the success or outcome of every project is hinged on the contributions of the team members. These contributions include their skills, capacities, experience and a whole lot of variables that will be harnessed by an efficient leader to realize the project’ objectives.
There are many factors that determine whether an organization grows or not. Many of these factors like capital, prevailing economies, political environment and government policies are beyond the management or business owner’s control. However, there is one factor that nearly all business owners can control that may directly determine long term business success: hiring the right people, and coalescing them into a successful and powerful team.
Strong and high-performing teams do not happen by chance or just by recruiting the best hands. They require careful cultivation from a team leader with a strong sense of team values, goals, and code of ethics. Without the conscious guidance and exemplary acts of the leader to the team, an effective team work is almost impossible. Find below 10 steps that have been tested and proven to help organizations create high-performing team.
Establish expectations from the beginning. Do not leave your team to guesswork. Be very specific in your expectation of them. Create an organizational culture for your team.
Identify individual strength and recognize them. As much as you want to have a strong team, recognize the fact that each member is a personality and areas of strength varies. Do not disregard anyone irrespective of their perceived weakness. Focus on their strengths and acknowledge them.
Create connections within the team. Encourage members to relate with one another not just as colleagues but as people on a journey together. Team games, recreational activities and travels can help solidify relationships. You may for instance take team meetings outside the office to a tea room, a weekend at a resort or a games field.
Exercise emotional intelligence. Be interested in team members’ welfare. Great leaders are emphatic. They show interest in the happenings around the lives of their team and do not just treat them as machines. Ask after their families, remember their birthdays, visit when they have health challenge.
Reward excellent performance. Do not just openly acknowledge good performance, ensure such performances are rewarded. Rewards can be in forms of commendation letters, bonuses, vacation trips or promotion.
Communication must be clear, unambiguous, consistent, continuous and documented where required. Do not assume that your team knows what to do. The communication line must be open and accessible. So improve on those communication skills; effective communication can keep working relationships strong for decades, while silence can break things apart very quickly.
Establish a strong feedback channel . It’s not enough to communicate, you must create an efficient feedback mechanism and be ready to review constructive criticism. Every issues raised in a feedback wether positive or negative must be addressed and cleared with the team.
Motivate Motivate Motivate. Great leaders create avenues for their teams to improve. Motivation helps a team to grow and perform optimally. It can be simply by the examples set by leadership. Avoid open criticism rather dwell more on individual strength. Positive reinforcement is a more productive manner of motivating team performance than shaming those who messed up.
Encourage diversity, creativity and innovation . Do not stereotype your team. Allow creativity among your team. Remember they come from different backgrounds, experiences, ages, and opinions. Do not insist that things must be done in specific ways.
Build trust. Create an atmosphere of trust by delegating responsibilities. Give crucial assignments and entrust your team to deliver.
Great things in business are made happen by a group of people. Teamwork is the reason an organization thrives. No one succeeds alone. The strength of each member is the strength of the team.
Adenike Babajamu (June 2021)
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