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5 attributes to help you evolve in a shifting workplace

How to hone your natural intelligence amid technological disruption

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two businesswomen having a discussion by workstation, with other in a discussion in the background“Your receptivity to feedback is key,” said speaker Jocelyn Bérard. “We see that as one of traits when identifying high potential leaders…the best ones are not just willing to receive it. They ask for it.” (Getty Images/Thomas Barwick)

If you want to remain relevant in the age of artificial intelligence, stay in control and keep learning.

That was the message behind the session, Natural Intelligence in a World of Artificial Intelligence, at CPA Canada’s The ONE National Conference that kicked off in Montreal on Monday.

“We have to grow. We have to keep learning. We have to keep preparing,” said speaker Jocelyn Bérard, senior vice-president national practice leader, assessment and development at Optimum Talent. “At the end of the day, it’s about attitude…Don’t let the technology determine what will happen to you. Be in control. It’s your own intelligence. It’s your own career.” Bérard, a psychologist who has worked as a talent management consultant for more than 20 years, identified five competencies to effectively evolve in a shifting workplace, which will inspire you to learn, adapt and manage expectations.


With 70 per cent of our learning garnered from hands-on experience and 20 per cent via others, including superiors, mentors, and/or colleagues, said Bérard, the professional environment is an ideal classroom. It’s not only about having the ability to hone new skills, but the motivation to do so, he added. Pick one avenue or skillset you want to develop and run with it.

“Doing the same thing over and over again is not learning, it’s repeating,” he said. “If you want to maximize your learning immerse yourself in a situation that is new.”


Remaining open, responsive and flexible allows you to let go of what came before—the training you once received or ideas that have guided you, Bérard said.

“The difficulty is to let go of practices and approaches that made [you] successful,” he said. “We have a way of doing things that made [us] successful…and now you need to let it go and do something different.”

Move out of your comfort zone by seeking opportunities to learn or participate outside of your current role and encourage those around you to do the same. Be open to feedback when offered, even request it, recommended Bérard.

“Your receptivity to feedback is key,” he said. “We see that as one of traits when identifying high potential leaders…the best ones are not just willing to receive it. They ask for it.”


An ongoing challenge in any professional environment, Bérard noted, is that employees must be efficient, action-oriented and versatile, while focusing on tasks often completed simultaneously. Establishing a balance between rigid process and structure, with a more fluid approach, is key, he adds.

“Being efficient is important when there is so much volume, all sorts of messaging…a ton of data. Lots of disruption that can create a lack of focus,” he said. “But in a context of fast-paced changing and disruption, if you hang onto your process, and are risk averse, and structured, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Jocelyn-Bérard speaking at The ONE 2019 conferenceJocelyn Bérard


Staying productive in fast-paced environments with overlapping priorities is a given these days, Bérard pointed out, while discerning the essentials from non-essentials, but not at the expense of respect and professionalism. Put your phone down during your next meeting, he advised, going as far as to say it could be a “career limiting move.”

“One of the pitfalls these days is that we cause our own issues because we don’t focus,” he says. “We have our phone, we have something playing, we are supposed to work, we are supposed to watch…Focus if you want to learn.”


This comes down to common sense, curiosity, reading between the lines and a quest for the whole story, said Bérard. What are the root causes of any given situation and where’s the data to back that up?

“If you only have ideas, that is not enough. The good innovative people are also reflective,” he says. “Look at it sideways. Ask opinions of different people…It’s taking the time to go a little bit deeper.”


The ONE National Conference runs Sept. 23 and 24 in Montreal. To stay up-to-date on other events browse the listings for upcoming conferences, symposiums and forums.