Shaila Dewan via NYTimes.com
Going back to school for months or years is not realistic for many workers, who are often left to figure out for themselves what new skills will make them more valuable, or just keep them from obsolescence. In their quest to occupy a useful niche, they are turning to bite-size instructional videos, peer-to-peer forums and virtual college courses.
Lynda Gratton, a professor of management practice at the London Business School, has coined a term for this necessity: “serial mastery.”
“You can’t expect that what you’ve become a master in will keep you valuable throughout the whole of your career, and you want to add to that the fact that most people are now going to be working into their 70s,” she said, adding that workers must try to choose specialties that cannot be outsourced or automated. “Being a generalist is, in my view, very unwise. Your major competitor is Wikipedia or Google.”
Gratton’s ‘serial mastery’ is dead on. It reminds me of Jamais Cascio’s ‘deep generalists’ — learning a lot about a lot of things, and understanding how they are connected.