You and I may not know each other – yet. My name is Ed and I’m an analyst at Gartner. My research is focused on areas that you may call, “soft skills.” Politics, storytelling, persuasion, and others related to interpersonal skills. On this blog, I will be sharing tips, tricks, insights and thoughts, that fall outside of Gartner’s published research. This is an opportunity for you and me to hear from each other in a less formal way. So go ahead and share your thoughts. What tips and tricks, and lessons have you learned? What stories do you tell? What questions do you have?
As we begin, here’s something I believe needs our consideration. It’s the term, “soft skills.” After all, what makes some skills hard and some soft? Is a soft skill something that is squishy and malleable? I recently saw “hard skills,” defined as specific knowledge and abilities required for success in a job. Have I missed something? Aren’t storytelling, politics, and persuasion considered knowledge and abilities? Aren’t they required for success in a job? A recent LinkedIn poll, listed persuasion, collaboration, and emotional intelligence as some of the top skills that organizations value most. Just like “hard skills,” they can be defined. They can be learned. And they can be improved with practice. It appears that soft skills aren’t so soft after all.
I want to suggest a new term – durable skills. It is a term that has begun to appear in articles, blogs, and journals. Here’s why it is better. Hard skills such as web design, accounting, and programming, are not relevant for the majority of positions in any given organization. They have specific and limited uses. I know that may offend a few computer science or finance majors, but you must admit, not everyone should be coding or doing math. But, everyone could benefit from knowing how to communicate better. Everyone should have to know how to get along with their teams and collaborate better. Furthermore, in the case of web design and programming, those skills must be renewed regularly. Whereas skills like persuasion and storytelling are always relevant, never go out of style, and are increasingly more likely to get you your next job. Not so squishy after all.
I look forward to continuing our conversation about durable-skills and that which it inspires.
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