Defining the “New Professional”
At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, we were pleased to host a Knowledge Exchange panel exploring the idea of “the new professional.” Our moderator Heidi Moore, New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for American Public Media’s “Marketplace” led the discussion. The conversation focused on changing values, skills, and the continuous need for individuals and companies to adapt. Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, stressed the need for professionals to be more self directed and take “responsibility for their own evolution.” He talked about adaptability being the new stability. He was joined on the panel with Deirdre Stanley, executive vice president and general counsel for Thomson Reuters, Mark Penn, worldwide CEO of Burson-Marsteller and Susan Peters, vice president of executive development and chief learning officer for General Electric Company.
Three big themes emerged. Technology and the reliance of networks and communities for information, distributed teams that bring multiple cultures and diverse thought together, and the true value of this new professional class emerging in terms of our ability to problem solve, interpret data and put into context.
Mark Penn also talked about the new professional becoming the “new middle class.” This new class is more dedicated to the environment and socially tolerant. Education will also need to change. He went on to point out that this election is the election of two professionals; finance and law.
Susan Peters added how important it is for corporations to adapt and show an openness to mentoring and reverse mentoring. There will be shifts in management, structure and genuinely creating an environment for people to continuously improve themselves and their teams. Companies need to explore new ways of working and producing.
The panel generated many questions and it was apparent that this topic is one that many individuals are thinking about; how they will define themselves and their choices. What also emerged was the need for companies to be a partner in this change to continue to grow and prosper. This conversation is just beginning….