Future's Bright: Preparing Today's Kids to Lead Tomorrow

Throughout June, Great Place to Work is hosting a blog-a-thon focused on the workplace of the future. They invited “workplace leaders, strategists, managers, employees, pundits, and all who care about creating great workplaces to envision the great workplace of the future.”

We were asked to “contemplate how workplaces will function in 10, 15, or 25 years, and what will make them great.” From my angle the future starts by preparing our kids.

5 Ways To Prepare Today’s Kids To Lead Tomorrow’s Workforce

How will we prepare our little ones for great leadership in tomorrow’s workforce? The future requires creativity, technical savvy, and most importantly the ability to create connections between people and ideas.

The future global economy requires these competencies for kids in developed and remote areas around the globe. As technology spreads, so must the learning.

In an interview with the Washington Post, renowned futurist, Ray Kurzweil, shares his predictions on the speed of global technology adoption.

“Everything was slow in the “old” days – the rate of change as well as the ability and tools people had to accommodate change. Both sides of the equation are much faster today. People can (and are) becoming “Internet savvy” very quickly. It doesn’t take long. The Web and mobile technology [are] invading the entire world including Africa at a very fast pace. Look how quickly Asia has adapted.”

The future is speeding toward us. Help our kids prepare.

5 Ways To Prepare Kid’s To Lead The Future

  1. Build Character – The future requires great human beings. Integrity, compassion, work ethic, servant leadership…these characteristics become even more vital with powerful tools and global reach. Reputations can be destroyed overnight through social media. Words last.
  2. Expanding Communities – The concept of community is rapidly changing. We must teach our kids to build responsible and valuable online relationships. Connect around areas of common interest. Proactively learn from global experts. Actively contribute as thought leaders to these discussions. The internet provides a powerful voice to the young and powerless. Build an online network to leverage for future leadership.
  3. Sustainability – As the planet continues to suffer from abuses and misuses, the companies of the future will have greater responsibility and more pressure for sustainable practices. Teach kids now about caring for the planet and show them their ideas and actions matter.
  4. Purposeful Learning – With so much information available from so many sources, we must teach kids to proactively mine for the data they need–making connections and drawing conclusions. Homework must evolve. No more fill in the blanks. Memorizing is mute. In the future, employees will not be “trained,” rather taught how to think and use resources. Build these competencies now.
  5. Focus – Future technology invites increased opportunities for multi-tasking. Multi-tasking invites distraction. Role model and teach kids how to prioritize, focus, pause, and build deep and connected relationships.
  6. What would you add?

Posted in Communication, Developing Leadership In Children and tagged , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of 3 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.


  1. Excellent list. Accountability for self and to others is my add.

    I recently had to let a 20 year old go from our team…before she even moved to camp. She walked away from a training class under pressure from her mom to visit her sister who surprised the family with a visit from out of town. 20 minutes after I called and told the 20 year old she would need to find a different summer job, her mom called me. Honestly, if the girl had called and asked for an opportunity to have meeting and talk. I would have been impressed and probably said yes. Who knows, maybe I would have rehired her. But mommy calls and my first thought is..”this just confirms my decision to get rid of this girl and her family issues from my organization.” Sadly, parents of adult children calling me is becoming more and more common. I might add…I refuse to hire anyone who’s mom or dad calls and ask if I’m hiring and if i could send their college student an application. If Jr. isn’t motivated to find a job, what kind of motivation will he/she have on the job? Stepping down from my soapbox now.

  2. I am having such a wonderful and fulfilling experience developing young leaders. There have been several key learnings relative to mentorship, motivation, expectation setting, and management approaches that have helped fuel our ability to be successful. A key to share is that we stick with a very consistent approach to measure progress and provide mentorship across all functional areas. Our scales assess CONFIDENCE & COMPETENCE. I have found that if these 2 areas of performance can be developed in concert you get a disproportionate contribution from team members. Young leaders when they have competence and confidence as a foundation are much better prepared to help others. Great topic Karin!!! Certainly one I love.

  3. Karin, your list is right on. After spending two weeks in Rwanda, Africa and observing schools and an education system the five ways listed are also applicable however in the circumstances I observed there are more pressing needs and one is equipping the community leaders, teachers, school administrators to be able to deliver the top five list. There is a huge desire on the part of educators and community leaders in Rwanda to develop future leaders and it is a core mission of the education system. There passion and commitment to do this is to be admired. It is amazing how you can be transformed and touched by contributing. Building my own character, connecting community, learning with purpose, and a focus on building positive relationships has certainly contributed to more sustainable leadership for myself. I would encourage all leaders with a desire to serve, support and assist developing countries such as Rwanda to get involved, contribute and equip. It’s worth it and so needed.

    • Claudio, thanks for sharing your wonderful experiences. You raise important points… we need to help support the infrastructure to make this real.

  4. I’m a fan of yours Karin, that’s obvious. A couple of reasons for that are your list here, that would also translate to the current topic as a set of goals: http://letsgrowleaders.com/how-i-role/

    Of this entry, http://letsgrowleaders.com/karin_hurt/ the words, “I know the reflective road of the marathon runner, the silence of the yoga mat,” really struck a chord with me months ago.

    With so much ‘input’ these days, for which we are not yet ‘wired’ to manage naturally, we MUST have strategies to silence it from time to time.

    We are now beginning understand the cognitive, health and business benefits of doing this.

    It may not be running or yoga for all,,, but teaching strategies that encourage reflection and silence will be critical and foundational to their happiness, fulfilment and success in all aspects of their lives.

    This is one of my most firmly held beliefs.

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