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If you could pick three skills for your teams to improve, what would they be? The rapidly shifting economic and regulatory conditions of the 21st century, mean that market changes often outpace management skills. In the past, your teams needed to be able to demonstrate a detailed grasp of policy, rigor in analyzing reports, and dedication to data quality – but to tackle today’s challenges, a different form of expertise is required. Here are my top picks for 21st century skills:

#1:  Anticipation

It wasn’t so long ago that data trends closely mirrored what we would see in the future. In a steady state environment, “anticipation” was as simple as reviewing recent data with the expectation that things will continue to follow the trend. However, times have changed, and to succeed bankers need to strengthen their skill of anticipating outcomes in the midst of more volatile conditions.

“An average of past performance is no longer sufficient for managing a financial institution. Every activity needs to be forward looking and that means we no longer have the luxury of ignoring time”. – Dr. Joe Breeden

One of the greatest challenges we face in retail banking is that the impact of our decisions has a prolonged outcome period.   If we change our underwriting criteria, the portfolio results may not emerge for 12 months.   For this reason, it’s particularly difficult to help people understand those “feedback loops” and the results of their actions. When a long delay exists between our actions and the system’s response, there is a natural tendency to make more changes, exacerbating the very problems we want to avoid. For this reason, it’s particularly difficult to help people understand those “feedback loops” and the results of their actions.

So how can we tackle this? Sometimes we just need to think outside the box – then test and learn, and test and learn again. Practice really can make perfect. Few banks are using new technologies to deliver career-specific, technical training to their employees, yet the technology is at our fingertips. Having your teams run test and learn scenarios in training can strengthen the art of anticipation.

Taking this one step further – serious games provide effective learning solutions for businesses, adding value to traditional training methods. For example, pilots have for decades been using flight simulators to hone their skills before they get into the cockpit. Simulations offer experiential education, providing professionals with the opportunity to test-drive their knowledge in a safe environment. Here they can learn the direct outcome of their actions, which wouldn’t be evident for months, if not years, in the ‘real world’

#2:  Detect Trends

You can’t learn to anticipate accurately without first being able to detect trends in data. Even when the future can’t be easily forecasted – quickly detecting a trend allows us to spot potential concerns and act fast with mitigation.

“Tell me and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand”.   Confucius.

Financial institutions all over the world have created a smorgasbord of “dashboards” and reports, designed to display a dizzying array of metrics and MIS. But how can our teams become better equipped to identify the patterns, within the noise?

Activity Based Learning (ABL) allows professionals to be actively engaged with training materials and putting their problem solving skills to the test using real life case studies and data. Trainers need to throw away their reliance on information dense teacher-centric training courses and have participants ‘learn by doing’, rather than ‘learn by listening’ – an approach that is proven to increase knowledge retention by up to 90%.

#3:  Serial learning

A rapidly changing environment requires a new breed of professional – the ‘serial learner’. Businesses have to create a culture of constant learning, so that professionals are motivated to keep upgrading their knowledge and skills – but how can this be implemented in the workplace?

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

Changing mindsets is no easy task – yet helping professionals “learn how to learn” is possible and utilizing new technology is often the key to success. Web portals, mobile apps and social platforms allow adult learners to take responsibility for their own learning experience. Here they can find curated forums, web-based seminars or bite-sized “on demand” learning modules that enable them to dip in and out as and when they need to, without impacting their busy schedules.

Fresh training approaches combined with new technology provide us with the tools we need to optimize our workforce. When designed and implemented well we could soon find ourselves ahead of the curve, instead of lagging behind it. Which three key skills would be your top picks to tackle in the coming 12 months?

Learn more about improving your management skills and how we can help nurture your Human Capital by speaking with us today!… Contact Us

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