The Future of Work: Todd Baker

The Future of Work: Todd Baker

Todd Baker, President and CEO of ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas discusses lifelong learning, the required skills of tomorrow’s leaders, and the value of creativity.

What is the one piece of advice you would give the leaders of tomorrow?

The first person that’s gonna live to be the age of 200 is alive today. It makes you reframe your thinking about what a career might look like. And so the first thing in that framing, I would say, is patience. My daughter is anxious to get to the next stage of her career, and what I encourage is to take a little bit of patience and think about building a career. Look at different areas of knowledge, different experiences that you can gain, and over a period of time, build those up to create a strong set of experiences and background. 

How has the world of work changed during your career? How will it change in the next 5 years?

When I started my career, really it was of a mindset within society at large, and people, is that go to university, gain some technical knowledge. That technical knowledge can be in business, it can be in science, and a company will hire you to apply that knowledge and that technical expertise for the rest of your career. It could be anything from taxation to accounting to legal, all kinds of different areas. But what’s been transitioning more recently is a move in a value from technical knowledge into a value of creativity. So the thing that’s really valued now is being able to take some element of technical knowledge and apply it creatively, create innovative solutions to complex problems. 

What are the most important skills leaders will need in the future?

Leaders really need to learn and transition into managing creative people. And managing creative people is very different than managing technical experts or people that are just applying technical expertise. And that’s that management of the creative, and also instilling that creative in people themselves, is really I think where that transition and that thing that we need in leaders going forward.

How would you go about building the leaders of tomorrow?

One of the things that I believe that we’re doing quite well, and it’s much more of a recent innovation, is really looking at lifelong learning on the job. As organizations, we need to be much more nimble, and the way that we can do that is by having everyone in our organization engaged in learning and bringing that knowledge into the organization to constantly transform it. 

How will automation and A.I. affect the jobs market?

And I think there’s a bit of transformation that’s going on right now. That concept of just gaining a professional designation, getting a level of expertise or knowledge in a university, and then being able to have a secure career going forward, I think, is going by the wayside because of artificial intelligence. And if you’re in a career, you’re in a position where it’s just a level of technical knowledge that’s required in that job, but not about applying, not about creatively taking that knowledge and finding innovative solutions to complex problems, then that’s where the problem’s going to exist. And I think, going forward, there’s gonna be much more value on the creative.