It seems so apparent that the future of work and the future of talent is all about gloom and doom: “a future without work”, the World Economic Forum called it in January. But, I do think there is hope, even though the fourth industrial revolution and the second machine age will have major impact on the way we work and what we call work. I’ll share some of my ideas to innovate talent at the 2016 ATD Global Conference in Denver, Colorado.

What can all of us do to improve our resilience to things to come? How can we fuel our future with our passion?



There are - at least! - three things we can do, no matter how the economy develops, no matter how many new jobs are created, no matter if our work, our job, our role is being swallowed by technology.

Three things:

1. ignite our untapped talents

2. invest in our essence

3. improve, since it’s better to get better

1. ignite our untapped talents

Remember Bob, from my TEDxStrijp Talk? His story continues one year later, in 2004, at a another party hosted by my former team member. Guess what? Bob and I ran into each other once more. The moment Bob lays eyes on me, he takes a beeline in my direction. He shakes my hand and tells me: “What you said back there over coffees and hangovers has changed my work life completely. I’m more successful than ever, with far less headache!”. Without knowing it at the time, Bob’s untapped talents were ignited.

So what is ignition? Ignition is the discovery of your untapped talents, your essence, your most fundamental, unchangeable motivations and drives.

How can you find the key to your ignition? Well, luckily there are quite a few tried and tested things you can do:

◦ find a good coach, since it takes two to tango
◦ reserve time for deep introspection and reflection in a state of relaxed & mild happiness: thanks David Rock for the insight!
◦ take tests, as many as you can: any Big4 test (MBTI, Insights for example), the VIA test (free by the way) or Strengths Finder
◦ but in the end: form your own mental picture of your essence, don’t take the test results for granted, do the work!

The moment you’re ignited, it’s time to start investing in your essence.

2. invest in our essence

Just a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Diana, a manager at one of Holland’s banks in a Management Development program I help facilitate. She is a wonderful woman. Small, with a lovely voice, a huge presence and easily touched by stories of her colleagues. The youngest and smallest of a large family, she had nourished a growing family and a blossoming career in tandem with caring for her parents who were struck by Parkinson's disease.

We challenged Diana to formulate a goal for herself for the years ahead. She chose: “to speak out”. When we asked which talents she would use to reach that goal, she realised that she was nourishing different talents at work and at home. Interestingly enough her goal was universal. She had a strong desire to speak out, both at work and at home. An insight struck her. “If my goal is universal, then I can utilise all my talents everywhere, both at home and at work”. Diana’s insight led to her decision to show more of her caring nature at work. Diana’s decision epitomises “invest in your essence”.

What is this investment we’re talking about here? It’s the conscious decision to not only discover, but to build on your strengths, on your essence. This may sound super self-evident, but you have to realise that 80% of corporate training and performance management is about improving weaknesses, rather than excelling in strengths. After igniting your untapped talents and investing in your essence, it’s time to improve.


3. improve: it’s better to get better

In one of my earlier blogs I’ve shared the story of Ann: one of my trainees who accelerated the development of her sales skills and results through the application of her talent, her curiosity, her innate love for listening. In the final round of cold calling after a very short training session, Ann called 8 prospects and managed to schedule 4 face to face meetings, a conversion rate of 50%, double that of the group average.

To improve is to get better at getting better: to learn, to act, to reflect and to improve. It’s the realisation that learning for life can be totally okay if it’s in line with who we are. Ann ended up sharing this with the group. She told us: “It has always felt as if sales was something other than who I was. Now it feels as if it’s part of me”.

I would love to hear some of your ideas to kindle our resilience for things to come. Will you share them with me?