A guest blog by Mariane Power at Posify

2030 just called. It wants to know how you nailed the delivery of a future-ready workforce.

The world might be spinning faster than ever before, but there’s a lot about growing up and school that hasn’t changed.

Like this kind of playground language – ‘The Class Clown’. ‘The Teacher’s Pet’. ‘The Weird Kid’. ‘The Jock’. ‘The Lone Wolf’. ‘The Popular Group’. ‘The Naughty Kids’.  ‘The Emos’. ‘The Nerds’.

Those words still ping in gut when you read or hear them, right? How and why? Well, because those labels likely either helped or hindered you from fitting in or standing out from the pack. And as a round two bonus – if you’re a parent, you’re seeing their same impact on your child.

The human drive to belong, to be seen, heard and understood starts when we’re little and stays with us for a lifetime.

And it’s a drive that shows up in your workplace too. If positively harnessed, it has the capacity to enable your teams to deliver off the charts solutions that they’ve collaboratively created as a by-product of coming together with people who ‘get and respect’ themselves, and one another. But if ignored, a lack of belonging can fester away and create the kind of toxic workplace culture that allows bullies to thrive, and productivity to take a dive.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that your workplace (or at least the kind you’d like to identify as yours) fits into the former category, where the factors that foster belonging are sourced, shared and nurtured, and people are given the opportunity to uncover and share with their teams their personal and collective potential. Your people probably know, or are working towards getting to know, their individual and collective strengths and values, their purpose, and the impact their efforts create.

And if you’re a leader nourishing these kinds of workplaces, you’ve probably got an eye on opportunities that help your people develop both skills that improve their capabilities in communication, creativity, and problem solving, and mindsets that nourish their wellbeing, increase their resilience and resourcefulness, so they can deliver their potential and help you and your organistion create the change you wish to see.

Those things are important, right? And they can be taught, learned and developed in your people, right? And not developing them costs other companies a TONNE of time, money, and resources to help them course correct, and catch up to a new economy that demands a demonstration of industry value that moves the needle on not just profit, but the planet and its people too. Right?

So, why are we still waiting until our ‘people’ arrive in our workplaces to get started?

And what might it look like if we joined forces to get the ball rolling on these critical life and work readiness skills earlier?

How might we as parents and industry work alongside teachers and educators to become co-collaborators of our children’s learning journeys? And if we did, what benefits might we all enjoy from a confident and capable future ready workforce, determined to co-create the change we all want to see?

At Posify, we’re working to close the gap between education and industry with a trilogy series of award winning, positive youth development and career readiness programs and events that journey alongside youth aged 12 to 22, as they navigate their way from school into meaningful work.

Our mission is simple. To equip students with knowledge and opportunities that foster their sense of purpose and enable them to uncover and deliver their unique potential, so they can contribute meaningfully to our future world and workforce and enjoy a life of impact.

Working with youth across the globe from a diverse range of backgrounds, one thing remains consistent is our findings. Students who are afforded the opportunity to develop meaningful connections with adults aligned with their purpose, adults who, in turn, authentically demonstrate that they see, value and celebrate that young person’s potential, fare better than their peers who learn and develop in isolation of this connection. Yep. Knowing that you matter, matters.

Our findings support existing research that points to benefits of co-collaborative learning and mentorship that include increased motivation and engagement with learning, improved wellbeing and self-efficacy, and demonstrated perseverance of long-term goals despite change and challenge, referred to in psychology literature as ‘grit’. Importantly, they report increased career confidence, greater clarity around their purpose, and assuredness around the multiple pathways they can take to contribute their unique potential and create impact. They graduate as motivated, engaged, self-determined and autonomous workers, eager to collaborate in teams in workplaces to design solutions to some of our world’s greatest challenges.

When we enable the classroom to stretch outside the school walls and into the boundless territories of matters close to the hearts of the next generation, our youth almost always outpace adults with their exceptional energy and commitment to acquiring and applying all the necessary skills.

Whether or not you agree with their approach and their causes, our young people mobilise movements. They always have. Our best opportunity to re-imagine our approach to education is through the lens of what matters most to the next generation. Impact.

That’s why we’re on a mission to co-create a new education paradigm, with leaders like you, who recognise the value of integrating all learners, regardless of age, in ways that enable generations to cross-pollinate and share their valuable insights, interests, skills and experiences. A paradigm in which the teacher is no longer considered responsible for being the authoritative expert, nor the conduit of knowledge, but rather, a mentor and coach, skilled in the fostering of self-agency in their students, and a facilitator of co-collaborative learning experiences that foster self-agency in the young hearts and minds they’re collectively nurturing.

Because when it all boils down to it, grades look good on paper. But they lack the heart and connection that will engage our children in learning that not only prepares them to lead a future workforce, but to take on the ultimate responsibility of becoming the caretakers of our world, and all that’s in it.

Ready to play? Good. Let’s co-create this future together.

Mariane is a coaching psychologist, obsessed with all things related to human potential and meaningful living, which she’s applied over the past 15 years in her work that helps children, families, schools and leaders acquire the knowledge and skills they need to uncover their purpose, and thrive.

She’s the Co-founder of The Posify Group, a social enterprise creating a future ready workforce, by designing scalable education solutions that ensure the next gen are equipped with the knowledge, skills, mindsets and opportunities they need to uncover and deliver their unique potential.

You can connect with Mariane on LinkedIn here, or in person at our upcoming conference, The Thriving Workplace

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