HYPE speaker Cheryl Cran shares future-ready workplace skills

Cheryl Cran – author, thought leader and future-of-work expert – gave students a flood of valuable insights and advice about expanding perspectives and professional opportunities and learning and growing at the speed of change in the working world. Her high-energy presentation on Wednesday kicked off HYPE Career Ready® for the spring semester.

One thing is certain, according to Cran: Change in the workplace is a constant, and willingness to adapt is tied to success. Essentially, it’s a process of lifelong learning.

A changing workplace

COVID changed the workplace forever, Cran said, with the creation of hybrid jobs which are all the rave right now. But they’re not just a trend. “Employers are recognizing this and know that hybrid is here to stay,” she added. “This is good news for you because it means flexibility.”

Artificial Intelligence is also here to stay. “AI usage is phenomenal,” Cran said, adding that it has an infinite number of applications from collaborator to researcher to therapist to dream analyst, and everything in between. As AI rapidly evolves, there are still privacy and ethical use issues to iron out. “But the train has left the station. There’s so much more AI innovation happening daily, and it can be super valuable.”

AI, which Cran termed “a co-worker,” allows us to “automate the mundane so we can elevate the humane.”

“If we elevate our human skills, we can build a society even better than we have. … The risk is that we rely on it as an end-all.”

What companies want

With so many options for work, it’s important to assess and understand what companies value in an employee. Companies today are looking for problem solvers who know the context of the business and how to adapt to it. The ideal employee adds value to the culture of the workplace, builds relationships (even in hybrid workplaces), adapts to different personalities and change, and has a strong knowledge of technology that they can leverage.

“Employers are looking for a combination of these skills,” Cran explained. “We might think we add value but we need to have the perspective of what others perceive our value to be.”

It truly is about having perspective – in fact, multiple perspectives, which lead to expanded opportunities.

What’s next – and what it means for student success

As students contemplate the grand vision they have for themselves, and not just their first job, Cran had four pieces of advice:

•    Know your personal brand, who you are, the conditions in which you function best, and what your triggers are.
•    Context is key, decide how it’s relevant to you and how it can be beneficial.
•    Consider the business/generations/personalities connection, figure out how you manage change and become aware of your flexibility or resistance to change.
•    Change leadership: Everyone has different reasons why they work and what they want out of work. What skills do you need to make you adaptable to change?

The most successful individuals will bring to the workforce multiple perspectives which lead to a “more humanistic, collaborative society,” Cran said.

“Every one of you has a unique multitude of intelligence – communication intelligence, tech intelligence, people intelligence. Leverage it. Connect emotionally and bring your human skills to the table.”

Cran encouraged students to adopt the “Me to We” model toward a higher level of self-awareness. “Me to We” happens when individuals evolve from focusing on themselves and blaming others or external factors for a lack of success to learning something every day about life and humanity and sharing that knowledge through acts such as mentoring.

Using Cran’s 4 C’s – compassion, conscious communication, collaboration and creativity – as a guide will lead each of us to becoming better humans, she said. “We all have to get better at these things.”

About Cheryl Cran

As a future-of-work expert, Cran founded NextMapping/NextMapping.com, an all-encompassing network of resources on the future of work and the ‘future-ready skills” needed by leaders and teams to navigate change in the workplace. She is the creator of the NextNow podcast and serves as the CEO of the parent company synthesis at Work Inc.

The author of 10 books, including her newest, Super.Crucial.Human, Cheryl honed her expertise by working successfully with a multitude of organizations. She has expertise in the hybrid workplace, the human future and the future of leadership.

Cran’s work has been featured in numerous national publications and she has spent two decades working with clients such as Amazon and AT&T. 

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