Are you up to speed with today’s must-have business management skills?

The 21st century is nearing the end of its second decade, and for anyone managing a business – or a life for that matter – that means acknowledging the way work is changing. Technology, automation, Artificial Intelligence, and more are defining new skill requirements. Review our 5 Essential Skillsets & Tips below to see if you are keeping up and what you need to do to compete.

Assessing your current skills

“The world economy no longer pays you for what you know; Google knows everything. The world economy pays you for what you can do with what you know.”

– Andrea Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills for the OECD

Some of these crucial business management skills are basic, but sometimes the skills alone are not enough. How do you rank?

  1. Digital Literacy While upper tier tasks like programming remain distinct, a broad working knowledge of what information technology is and the role computers, software, apps etc. play in today’s sharing of information is not. This doesn’t just apply to more mature workers; those entering into the job market or seeking advancement need to keep up with advancing “basics” like Word processing programs, spreadsheet tools like Excel or Google Sheets, digital presentation skills, Internet searching capabilities and knowledge of social platforms.

    Tip: Take online courses to learn and improve software skills specific to your job and join chat groups around the areas of technology that influence your field. If you’re on the computer a lot, pickup keyboard shortcuts (listed in Windows and Apple) that can save a lot of time working in an office or at home.

    People collaborating in an office

  2. Innovation and Learning Just how good are you at problem solving, being flexible (not just when it works for you), or at collaborating with others? Being innovative doesn’t necessarily mean inventing the latest gadget, it means applying better solutions to current needs, and that requires an open mind, a creative spirit and a willingness to try and fail. If working in a silo, keeping your head down and not contributing to the problem-solving others are engaged in sounds like you, your chances of remaining vital are slim.

    Tip: Read our guide on Innovation. And don’t be the only one to up your skills – maximize the purpose and productivity of your office equipment.

  3. Critical Thinking/Problem solving Because we are living in the information age, critical thinking skills are fundamental to being able to distinguish between good and bad content (to use only what is verifiable) and problem-solving critical thinking skills are imperative. According to a survey of chief human resources and strategy officers by the World Economic Forum, complex problem solving and critical thinking will be the top two skills workers will absolutely need by the year 2020.1

    Tip: Quite simply, practice your thinking. Hone the art of introspection and be aware of your own tendency to be biased or even a bit lazy when it comes to original thinking. Focus on facts, resist “authority or consensus” rules that favor a certain way just because it has always “been done.” Use evidence-based reasoning (i.e., opinion is not factual); look for what is missing from the big picture and always ask questions.

    3D building model

  4. Familiarity with Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mobility and Cloud Technology are already impacting the way we work, and AI is quickly closing in. Four specific technological advances—high-speed mobile internet, AI, widespread adoption of big data analytics, and Cloud Tech—are set to dominate the 2018–2022 period as drivers positively affecting business growth and the job market.2

    Tip: Get up to speed with what AI is and how it’s already impacting the way you live (in communications, finances, marketing and human interaction) by reading articles, researching, listening to podcasts and learning how it will impact you and your field. Make the most of current mobility support with Xerox® ConnectKey® Technology to help manage work from anywhere, via laptop, tablet or smart phone.

    Bionic Hand

  5. Creativity and Emotional Intelligence With new products, technologies and revolutionized ways of working, imagination and originality are in demand. All the tech in the world cannot be replaced by a robot – people will be needed to create and nurture the vision. Creative/design skills are required to communicate well whether it’s putting together a presentation, writing an engaging email or polishing your image or brand. Emotional Intelligence or EQ is the ability to “recognize, understand, manage, and reason with emotions” and is key to dealing with people. In one survey of hiring managers, almost 75 percent of respondents suggested that they valued an employee's EQ more than their IQ.3

    Tip: Work on increasing the elements of your EQ by practicing what American psychologist Daniel Goleman called the framework for the five elements that define it: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.4 These skills improve your customer service, sales skills, leadership, communication and ability to work in a team – distinguishing you in any field you work in.

Don’t Forget the Basics

Some business skills will never go out of fashion, like time management and organizing, accountability and integrity. Basic math and financial skills are always useful too, especially in keeping your own accounts in order. And lastly, being a good communicator and helpful team player will also score points on any front – office, home or in your community.

Let Xerox help you perfect your business management skills. Explore more tips here. Contact your reseller or Shop Xerox for a free consultation today.


1World Economic Forum, 2016

2World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society, 2018


4 Daniel Goleman 2005, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ