Strategic Human Capital Insights

Leading for Organizational Agility, Resiliency and Effectiveness

INBOUND2 Leadership Milestones on The Upskilling Journey– A Personal Story

The background to this blog in Part II was off to a marketing conference to learn more about recent developments with our inbound marketing platform, new products and new functions.  This literal and figurative journey was overwhelming, to say the least.  Read Part I of this series for the full background.


Below are two issues that leaders must lead their people through on the individual upskilling journey. 

1. Knowledge Inadequacy and Emotional Angst

Leadership: Factor these feelings into the upskilling process.  To ignore this is unthinkable.  Proceed at your own risk!

Some people may look at all this new inbound marketing information and be excited. I face this new reality with trepidation.  I understand marketing, however, marketing technology is not as familiar to me.  I still classify myself as a beginner. These feelings do not inspire confidence. I have an admittedly low competence level with marketing technology tools.  I also recognize there is no denying or avoiding this new knowledge and skills reality. It’s here to stay.  To deny or avoid this new operating reality would create grave business consequences for my newly-launched business.  

2. Bridge the Upskill Deficit - ‘Crossing the Great Knowledge and Skills Abyss’

Leadership:  Set a Development Plan for Success

The conference was about learning & knowledge acquisition.  I was overwhelmed as I thought about the days ahead.  To help with this, I was careful to select the sessions that matched my expertise, giving me a chance of understanding and implementing after the conference.   The key is to have a plan for the topics I need to learn, and set up the right schedule.  For some topics, I just need familiarity and my marketing agency will execute.  For others, I need deep understanding, so I can execute properly on my own. 

  • Am I excited?  Somewhat.
  • Am I scared?  You bet!
  • Am I confident?  More like overwhelmed.
  • Will I get what I need from the convention? I must – I have no choice!

Why?  Knowledge and skills are continually upgrading every year.  If I don’t embrace today’s knowledge and skills, I will have stood still while the world progresses.  I will be standing on one side of the knowledge and skills abyss and the world will be on the other side.  Do I want to be a casualty of the ‘upskilling deficit’?  Do I want to wait so long to upskill that the task becomes impossible based on the sheer ‘upskill deficit’ that I will have created?

As daunting as this journey is, I recognize it's up to me.  My upskilling will be a constant process, and I must participate.  If not, what’s the alternative?  Today, each of us must ask the upskill question and honestly answer it.   Leadership can lead us through the process, but we must decide if we are going to participate. There are only three ways you can move in this new world – progress, remain static or ultimately regress.  It’s your choice!

I invite you to read Part I of this series, and to subscribe to the blog to stay updated on future blog posts about upskilling and leading for organizational agility.

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Topics: Organizational Alignment & Effectiveness

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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