COVID-19 is one of the most difficult tests faced by humanity during the current times. We haven’t seen anything like COVID-19 and its speedy impact. Half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the unfolding crisis. The Global economy also faces its worst downturn since the Great Depression. Most countries are heading for very sudden and significant recessions. Worldwide unemployment is expected to rise to its highest level in more than 50 years.

The pandemic has taken precious lives, stimulated anxiety and most importantly reshaped normal life concepts. We all are in various levels of quarantine which helps to rejuvenate our memories around what normal is and what will be the new, next or better normal.

Regardless of any form of ‘normal’ we need to constructively think about the future. When we enter the post-pandemic period, the business and economic context will not be able to return to its pre-crisis state. The result will be an environment that will be rich in possibilities for those who are prepared and can evolve.

It will be the new normal to be as good as based on the skills we possess. But which capabilities are they, and how can we make sure we keep pace? As a mentor, I always advise mentees to perform self-audit to understand what skills we possess. It also allows identifying strengths and weaknesses, which can help them to navigate the acquisition of required skills. Here are three key skills to consider to be the winners in the new normal;

Agility

Organizations demonstrated outstanding agility by changing business models throughout the pandemic. We, as individuals, need to follow the same model by adjusting quickly when things are not working as planned. Being an agile means anticipating what’s ahead, monitoring trends, and moving forward. We need to respond to change with action and movement in a long term. We look for energetic, quick and sharp as key characteristics of an agile mind-set.

This is the dire expectation of the time to make smart and effective decisions in a rapidly changing world to master disruption by being agile. This is the time to embrace failure as the most effective path to agility; fail fast, learn faster at a higher risk.

Scalability

Scalability is at the heart of the journey for sustainable career growth. It describes uniform behaviours, expectations and our capabilities to adapt and perform well under an increased workload based on the industry demands. Automation technologies has blessed us by making it easier to acquire knowledge and education to scale up in the era of information technology.

The combination of horizontal scaling and agile capabilities can redefine what success looks like in the short and medium-term.

Automation

Coronavirus outbreak is an influential turning point in automation. It has accelerated the automation that was already occurring before pandemic. According to market research, 60% of all jobs could see more than 30% of their key tasks automated; affecting 400m to 800m jobs around the world by 2030.

For me the problem is not that Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Robots are coming or they will take all the jobs. We have key questions to answer. Given our existing skill sets, will we be qualified to get the jobs that will be there in coming years? As automation will change nature of work, most of us may need to switch occupations and acquire new skills with respect to digital transformation. It is the key if we want to remain marketable.

We also require critical-thinking, problem-solving and decision-making capabilities to be successful while the global economy is in nosedive and crisis is catalysing contagion effects.

We, professionals, can utilise this critical time to pay back to the community by mentoring new generation and communities who are dealing with the impact of covid-19 pandemic by inspiring, passing on knowledge and guiding especially who are at the start of their career.

The future of work looks to be a wild ride. This crisis is expecting us to ‘relearn’ how to be uncertain and take risks. We need to seize the opportunity to grow and change by integrating new attitudes, agility, scalability and automation capabilities into our work ethics and DNA.

This moment in history redefines our faith that ‘Time and Tide waits for no man one!’