I recently received a review copy of Geoff Colvin’s new book, Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will. In it he asks which human skills will be highly valued tomorrow, given the growth of ever more awesomely able technology.
Calvin observes that the skills valued by the economy are changing. He explains that mastering technical skills that have been in demand in the past, no longer makes us different. In her review of the book, Pulitzer-prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin writes that the skills that differentiate us are: “Instead, empathy, creativity, humor, relationship building, and expressing ourselves with the greater power than logic can ever achieve.”
I can’t help think of these as inherent qualities of successful multi-generational enterprises.
I like Colvin, not for dispelling the unspoken fear of being replaced by a machine, which does certainly appear from time to time—not so much for me as for my children—but for emphasizing the value and importance of inherent talents and personal qualities over and above skills that can be mechanized.
It is, then, the vital human touch that will carry our businesses; our economy; into the future.
1 Colvin, Geoff. Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know That Brilliant Machines Never Will. New York: Portfolio/Penguin, 2016.