Sophia L. Aluko, Head of Service Delivery at Barclays and CSCLeader 2018, explores the growth of technologies as one of the biggest challenges leaders face today and how being quick as a leader is key to addressing this. 

It is an indisputable fact that the rapid growth in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation and robotics are having a transformative impact on our world. AI is gradually seeping into our lives with reports that up to 800 million jobs could become obsolete over the next few decades.1

The potential number of jobs that could be replaced by automation and AI is clearly a cause for concern with significant social, economic and ethical ramifications. Quick leaders need to respond swiftly to these changes by managing the down side of rapid automation and harnessing the positives by creating a work environment that is more diverse and inclusive, where employees do work that gives them a sense of purpose. Similarly, emerging leaders and those about to enter the job market need to focus on reimagining the nature of their careers and develop skills needed to succeed in this new world.

While there have been several studies on the skills required to compete with machines, I view the following four skills as essential for emerging and quick leaders to develop, in order to thrive and successfully co-exist with machines.

1. Adaptability
Adapting to the changing and evolving trends created by technology is imperative. Gone are the days of a job for life. To be resilient in the future and thrive in the workplace, quick leaders have to develop a suite of complementary skills that allow them to be adaptable to take on new challenges.

2. Creativity
Jobs that exist today will be completely transformed and new jobs will emerge. As machines and humans co-exist, in the future, those that are able to think differently, using a multi-disciplinary approach to solve challenges will come out on top.

3. Data Interpretation
Data is exploding at a geometric progression, and some studies report that 90% of data that exists today was created just a few years ago.2 Data skills will continue to be in high demand for the foreseeable future and those that are adept and comfortable with interpreting data and using it in new ways will be in high demand.

4. Soft skills
Although robots are capable of automating away millions of jobs, they are not yet proficient at performing in environments that involve complex human interactions and reasoning. Soft skills such as teamwork, communication, and leading diverse teams will become even more valuable.

To thrive in this brave new world, we will have to adapt and cultivate a range of skills that will complement new technologies. We will have to develop a deep knowledge of our jobs and establish expertise that machines are not yet capable of replicating. As AI becomes mainstream, our ability to collaborate with others, develop and lead teams, and relate to others with empathy will become even more valuable.


1. Koetsier, J. (2018). ‘Jobs And Robots: 25 Countries Ranked On Job Loss Potential From Automation, Robotics, And AI’. [online] 90% Of Today's Data Created In Two Years <>

2. Loechner, J. (2016). ‘90% Of Today's Data Created In Two Years’. [online] <>