Lynda Gratton supports notion of portfolio living

by Barrie Hopson on July 22, 2015 · 0 comments

in Flexible working,Future of work,Meaning,New ways of working,portfolio careers

Well – not in so many words! But read on.

As Professor of Management Practice at London Business School and founder of the Hot Spots Movement, Lynda is universally regarded for the insights her books and research have provided into organisational behaviour and management. Her most recent research focuses on the organisational, personal and social challenges of a population in which many of us will live beyond 100, and the changes this will mean for our professional lives. I have always found her books inspiring so you can imagine, especially if you read my posting on developing a portfolio lifestyle that I was intrigued to hear that she has proposed five insights into how to prepare for this shift, and the professional ramifications it will have for us all.

1 – Plan to live to 100, and work to 80

2 – Intangible assets are crucial

Lynda suggests that the best way to prepare for a longer working life is to shift our focus away from tangible assets such as property and measurable assets such as skills, and onto aspects of our personality, relationships and outlook that will enable us to be more productive for longer. She predicts that in the future, health and wellbeing, long-term friendships and a positive outlook will ultimately become more important than education levels and physical assets.

3 – Prepare for transformation

“If you’re going to have a long life, and a long career, the idea of three consecutive stages – study, work, retirement – just won’t work anymore. You need the capacity to constantly transform yourself, because what you study at the beginning of your working life just won’t be relevant 40 years later. We’re going to see people taking a break in the middle of their working lives to retrain and to explore different options.”

“Not only do individuals need to be prepared to change, but organisations and governments need to move away from expecting everyone to live through the same life stages at the same time, because where, when and how we study, enter the workforce, leave work and retrain will change constantly.”

4 – Think hard about skills (don’t get replaced by a robot)

“In the same way that mechanisation replaced routine physical activity in the 20th century, artificial intelligence will replace routine cognitive activity in the 21st century,” she says. “Manual non-routine jobs, like plumbing, continue to be performed by humans, and similarly at the high-end – routine analytical roles will be completed by machines; the jobs that are going to stay are analytical but non-routine.”

She predicts that the expansion of artificial intelligence will have a big impact across the professional services sector, creating diagnostic and analytical support tools for decision-making. However, she says, humans will always be needed for non-routine roles.

5 – Work-life balance is the key to long-term success

“The only way to ensure people are productive throughout long working lives is to make sure they go to work feeling authentic, resilient and supported, and leave work feeling networked, inspired and knowledgeable.”

Many of us with portfolio careers are already on this path and our attitudes and skills should make this transition more rewarding and enjoyable.


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