On the heels of the steam engine, mass production, and electronic and digital technology comes the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Stemming from digital roots, this new era brings a wave of change that will once again revolutionize how we live and work. And technology is leading the charge.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution introduces integrated adjustments to the way we interact with the world around us, including new advancements like the Internet of Things, the Internet of Systems, artificial intelligence, and more. We’re looking at not just technological assistance, but a flourishing form of technological assimilation. If the sci-fi throwback term of “assimilation” doesn’t make you sit up and take notice, it should, because the tides are changing fast. Here are three keys to ensuring you and your business stay afloat.
Increase Your EQ
Move over, IQ; it’s not all about brainpower anymore. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will change how we interact with one another in conjunction with our technology, and it requires that we reconnect with our EQ (emotional quotient). As AI begins to make its way into the decision-making processes of modern business, emotional and social intelligence become two capabilities that can’t be automated — at least not yet.
It’s one thing to have complex thinkers with lightning-fast computational skills and incomparable technical abilities, but it’s quite another to have an intercommunicative workforce that’s situationally aware and adaptive. Consider the example of FedEx, which took EQ to heart when designing its leadership program. By focusing on building emotional intelligence into its management team, the company has yielded an 8-11 percent increase in core leadership competencies. Employees also made vast improvements in their decision-making and influencing abilities and experienced a marked improvement in their quality of life.
Take a look at your leadership program, and critically assess whether you’re nurturing your company’s EQ. To start, quiz your team to see where its EQ stands now, using assessment tools such as those from Psychology Today or the Institute for Health and Human Potential. Then, make sure your training includes lessons like how to stay calm rather than reactive when facing a difficult person or how to express difficult emotions when necessary. To help your team members focus on EQ, emotional intelligence expert Justin Bariso passes along this self-test from comedian Craig Ferguson: “You know before you say anything, you have to ask yourself three questions: Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? And does this need to be said by me now?”
Nurture the Signs of Spring
Today’s Fourth Industrial Revolution brings exponential change to the ways we integrate technology with modern industry. Just look at the U.K.’s robotic farm, which harvested its first machine-tended crop a couple of years ago. Continuing to educate your team will be vital because the future of work will entail digital transformation, and your team will need more advanced skills to keep up with the rapid change. Just as sports teams come together for preseason training to brush up on skills and welcome new players to try out, so should you create a forum for your company’s employees to expand their talents and aim toward new goals.
After all, your workers may not have the skills needed to do the jobs you need done, according to a World Economic Forum report. Consider bringing in a consultant or trainer to update your entire team on a specific area or to work with employees individually to help them gain the necessary skills or earn relevant certifications. Try partnering with universities, city agencies, and nonprofits to educate your team members, or enable them to attend workshops that further their industry knowledge. You could even give each member of your team a professional development budget and time off each quarter to acquire new skills.
Be the First — or at Least Not the Last — to Adopt New Tech Strategies
You’ll see success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution if you lead your industry in incorporating emerging tech into your operations and business model in a big way. “Exploring the limits of technology is often a hefty investment, but adopting new tech and learning how to use it before the rest of the industry follows suit can provide businesses with an important competitive advantage,” says Saagar Govil, chairman and CEO of Cemtrex Inc., a global leader in innovative multi-industrial technology. As an example of this in action, Govil cites JPMorgan Chase, which is placing a heavy emphasis on bleeding-edge technologies such as blockchain, AI, and big data. Perhaps you can’t be the first in your industry to implement a new tech solution, but make sure you’re not the last.
Look around you: Tech is being transfused into the veins of every industry. You need to make an educated guess as to how — and which — new technologies could impact your business and then act. If your company owns real estate, for example, you should consider automating your properties’ heating and cooling, lighting, security, and other building functions. Such “smart” office buildings are becoming increasingly common around the globe. In fact, Navigant Research estimates the smart building tech market will bring in $8.5 billion globally in 2020, up from 2016’s total of $4.7 billion. The benefits of this infrastructure investment? You’ll reduce your energy use, which means you’ll both spend less and lessen your buildings’ impact on the environment.
Rapid change is inevitable, and the assimilation of technology into every aspect of modern business is unavoidable. The question is whether today’s business leaders can remain competitive in a technological world that’s rapidly and exponentially evolving. The tide is rising on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Will your business sink or swim?