In one of Seth Godin’s messages last week, he used a word I’d never heard before. The word was “cruft” and it sounded odd. So I looked it up. Apparently, cruft was originated in the 1950’s to describe computer code that was designed poorly or complicated beyond necessity. Since then, it has morphed to mean anything this is unnecessarily redundant or useless. Cruft.
I couldn’t help but make the immediate connection between my newly expanded vocabulary and the future of the profession. There has been so much written in the last few years that warns you that you will soon become cruft if you aren’t attentive to the advancements of technology, AI and other machine learning that will soon replace much of the technical work you do.
Of course, the obvious question is what you will do when technology assumes its place in professional service. Gale Crosley wrote an exceptional article reminding you about the competencies that technology will not replace. She advised that there are some key skills that will elevate you beyond your technical know-how, including capability in speaking, facilitating, training, advising, coaching and writing. They are not really a surprise because the best in your firm already practice them.
You would benefit from sharpening those skills now as you perform your current role. For instance, when you have to present your work to a partner or a client, be conscious of sharpening your presentation skills. Pay attention to the elements that make a strong and influential case, like knowing your outcome, selecting an approach and determining your tone. Rehearse your presentation and, in addition to showing off your work, demonstrate you possess the skills that matter more. Because if you can master those skills now, you will never be cruft.