I recently finished reading “The World Is Flat” and found the following thoughts from Tom Friedman to be extremely interesting.

* The key to thriving, as an individual, in a flat world is figuring out how to make yourself an “untouchable”. “Untouchables” are people whose jobs cannot be outsourced, digitized, or automated.

Couple of key categories that untouchables in a flat world will fall into:
a. People who are really “special or specialized”.
b. People who are really “localized” and “anchored” (jobs must be done in a specific location either because they involve some specific local knowledge or because they require face-to-face, personalized contact or interaction with a customer).

* Key Roles in a Flat World
1. Great Collaborators and Orchestrators – Collaborating with others or orchestrating collaboration within and between companies.
2. Great Synthesizers – Creating value by synthesizing disparate parts together.
3. Great Explainers – Seeing the complexity but explaining it with simplicity.
4. Great Leveragers – Leveraging technology, designing programs that enable others to work smarter and faster.
5. Great Adapters – Applying depth of skill to a progressively widening scope of situations and experiences, gaining new competencies, building relationships, and assuming new roles. Capable of not only constantly adapting but also of constantly learning & growing.
6. Passionate Personalizers – Giving personal, special touch and real passion to a normal task.

The most important ability you can develop in a flat world is the ability to “learn how to learn” – to constantly absorb, and teach yourself, new ways of doing old things or new ways of doing new things.