As a part time professor teaching in the Design Strategy MBA program at California College of the Arts, a question often arises with our students and fellow faculty - where will the future leaders in business and culture come from? What will be their training? How will we know that the approach we are taking in our graduate education programs today will be relevant in a rapidly changing environment in both business and culture? Are we reading the signals correctly to attract the right talent for instructors and students, alike?
So, future leaders - What do you think you need to succeed as you grow your experience? Some say that we need to be adaptable to constant change. But that's really not very new and you certainly can't teach resilience. Others would argue that we must have ever changing skills to stay current and relevant. There are many books, papers, articles, and conferences that preach that leaders must be able to listen and distill quickly in order to make decisions in an increasingly sped up and challenging business cycle.
What does the next generation leader look like? Traditional MBA programs have focused on specific skills - finance, marketing, organizational behavior, international business, and more. You get a mix of all these things but you pretty much have to pick your flavor of emphasis and dive in the deep end. Perfectly acceptable in a world where employees were valued as assets to be groomed and trained and brought up through the ranks. Today's worker will have a lot of jobs and might change focus several times during their working life. Some reports claim that the recent college graduates will change careers 8 times in their lifetime. Not jobs - careers!
So what do YOU need to succeed?
Designers, musicians, writers, artists, all have the secret sauce to unlocking potential. They understand how to adapt to changing conditions quickly. They see the situations and problems as series of choices not static and immovable. Designers are natural communicators. Designers learn how to understand complex issues and decode them into a series of acceptable choices and not singular solutions.
Design training is now a valuable asset in the C suite and should be part of your tool kit as well.
How will you adapt? What would your choice of design education?
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback here.
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