6 Habits Of Mind That Will Impact The Future Of Work

Mandy Lin

Today I read a newsletter from my children’s elementary school. It said 60% of the jobs our middle schoolers learn habit of future workforcechildren will be competing for have not been invented yet. The school district has prepared “6 Habits of Mind” to equip the kids of the future of work.

Reading through the 6 Habits reminded me of a book called, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. The book was first published in 1988. Fulghum illuminates that children learn their most essential life skills during kindergarten.

The school district’s 6 Habits of Mind are similar. I find them just as comprehensive. It is interesting to think through how each habit will impact future professionals.

6 Habits of Mind

1. Ownership: To be engaged and focused on my learning. To persevere, self-reflect and recognize that mistakes and revisions are a part of learning and lead to quality work.

2. Communication: To share ideas clearly and constructively, consider others ideas and perspectives and seek mutual understanding.

3. Collaboration: To work together constructively, reflect on different perspectives, build on the ideas of others and take responsibility for my team and myself.

4. Creativity: To share ideas courageously, pursue new paths of thinking, refine prototypes and design innovative solutions.

5. Critical Thinking: To be curious, motivated, self-reflective learners who ask thoughtful questions to deepen understanding and ignite work worth doing.

6. Citizenship/Stewardship: To take care of myself, other people and the environment so that we can make a positive impact as guardians of our school, local and global community

What Future of Work behaviors will these 6 Habits drive?


A child who learns to own his work will learn accountability. An adult who is accountable can be trusted to work remotely freeing him or her from an office. A child who learns to own his work also learns to persist beyond failure. An adult who knows how to move beyond failure can innovate.


A child who learns to communicate will be able to engage others. In the future teams will be more global. To be able to articulate ideas in a global team will allow the child, when grown up, to lead in a global workplace.


A child who learns to collaborate learns that 1 + 1 does not always equal 2 but sometimes 22. He also learns that collaborative ideas add up to more than the sum of their parts. This child will grow into an adult who, in the future of work, can grow a team or an organization.


A child who learns creativity will learn not to be bound by the rules and assumptions of the past. We are time of digital transformation today. Winners aren’t letting past rules or business models hold back their progress. Similarly, a child who learns creativity will have the courage to innovate. He will use methodologies like design thinking to transcend the status quo.

Critical thinking:

A child who learns critical thinking will never get bored. He will ask things in a way that others haven’t and seek answers to hard questions. An adult equipped with critical thinking skills will be able to identify the wheat from the chaff. His work will have focus. He will have impact.


A child who learns citizenship learns that he has a responsibility to his community. An adult who knows citizenship will embed sustainable considerations into his work. His short-term actions will lead to future benefits rather than future harm.

My kids are early recipients of these 6 Habits of Mind. Thus far I like where the schools are going. I am hopeful that these habits will instill the characteristics needed to succeed in the future of work.
To learn more about the workforce and how your company can better prepare for the Future of Work, check out the Workforce 2020: The Looming Talent Crisis with Oxford Economics and SAP.

About Mandy Lin

Mandy Lin is the Senior Director, Digital & Content Marketing, at SAP accountable for SAP's industry-led (vertical marketing) social strategy, operations, budget, and enablement. Her team is responsible for social posting, social listening (share of voice) and engagement, and content amplification. We provide monthly analytics on the success of these efforts.