The Most In-Demand Skills for Dispersed Teams


Diverse and dispersed teams are increasing in prevalence as globalization continues to change the world’s economy. Employees, managers and their organizations need to learn how to best operate from dispersed locations and within different cultural contexts. This requires mastering certain skills.

According to Oxford Economics’ 2012 “Global Talent” report, the most in-demand skills for dispersed team members over the next five to 10 years will include:

  1. Digital Skills – Of all the technical capabilities, digital business skills are seen as the most critical, especially in Asia, where more traditional technologies have been leapfrogged. Technically skilled workers specialize in the new forms of digital expression and marketing literacy, including the broad spectrum of social media.
  2. Agile Thinking Skills – In today’s volatile, unpredictable, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, the ability to prepare for multiple scenarios and make sense of complicated situations is essential.
  3. Interpersonal and Communication Skills – The global corporate shift from top-down leadership to a more collaborative and fluid leadership style requires organizations to foster co-creativity and brainstorming skills in employees. This means being adept at relationship building and teaming, particularly in a virtual environment.
  4. Global Operating Skills – Most important to this skill group is the ability to manage a diverse employee base. Chairman and CEO of General Electric Jeff Immelt contends that organizations will have to be able to advance from “glocalization” efforts, that is, tailoring global products and brands to local markets, to the concept of “reverse innovation,” in which innovation is led from emerging markets and brought back home to mature markets.

Making sure team members at all levels of an organization are equipped with the skills to work and collaborate in a diverse and dispersed environment is essential to securing success.

Lynne Putz