Lifelong Learning Equals Lifelong Employability

“Either you’re growing or you’re dying, there’s no in-between.”

Dr Wilma Slenders


Being frank and honest might not have served Dr Wilma Slenders well in high school or university, but it has served her well in her professional career. The Dutch certainly have a knack of asking those questions no one else would and, as a Change Catalyst, this personality trait has been crucial to her leading-edge research.


Dr Wilma Slenders challenges people to break through the status quo and transcend to higher levels of performance. She has an academic background, with studies in executive coaching, trust, advising and leadership, which is combined with over 25 years business and consulting experience. Dr Slenders’ passion for leadership began when she was growing up and her research now focuses on exploring CEO’s and their trusted advisor relationships. This provides insights that she applies to leaders at all levels of the organisation.


*Hot off the press – Dr Slenders has just started writing her first book which is about women in the workplace, exploring visibility and invisibility – you heard it here first!


Have you read: The Art of Self-Mastery – RJ Singh


Today, on The Culture of Leadership (TCoT) Podcast, we are taking the opportunity to chat to Dr Slenders about the concept of lifetime employment versus lifelong employability. So, let’s unpack those areas a little bit further.


Lifetime employment

The definition of lifetime is lasting or remaining in a particular state throughout a person’s life. Inherent to that is there isn’t a lot of change happening. It implies that a person can work in one company for their whole career or that the skills they gained at the formative stages of their career, i.e. university, first job etc., are going to be enough to keep them employed for their lifetime.


This is a fixed mindset and outdated notion.


When you consider that 25 of the jobs that exist now probably aren’t going to exist in another three years and 1 in 16 employees are going to have to find a different occupation by 2030, a fixed mindset is probably not the best mindset to have.


Lifelong employability 

The definition of lifelong is the duration of one’s life. There is no inherent meaning that things are going to stay the same. It requires participating effectively in the workplace and acquiring new skills. Skills that are going to keep individuals current and available for new assignments and roles through-out their lifetime or, however long they wish to be in the workforce.


This is a growth mindset. The speed of the development is irrelevant, as long as it involves constant movement.


Have you read: Are you Sick, Fat & Tired – But Don’t Know It? Dr Pat Boulogne


There are many benefits to adopting the mindset which comes with lifelong employability and the two essential skills required are change agility and people skills; which include empathy and strong emotional intelligence. Dr Slenders view is that relationships are the basis of everything and the quality of relationships leads to a level of trust. She knows a thing or two about trust because she studied trust as part of her doctoral dissertation.


Keen to focus on lifelong employability?


Then I suggest you tune in to this week’s podcast to hear Dr Slenders unique perspective on the business world and the challenges that leaders face.  She also shares the top five skills which she considers critical for leaders to focus on when navigating the future.


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