Invest in the Permanent You

Be Respectful Personal leadership Respect Self-improvement

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Key Point: Invest mightily in your permanent skills and strengths. Today, my team has lead 5,000+, engaged and committed team members to the beginning of something we call “Work Reimagined.” In some ways it feels like we all walked into an Olympic stadium, after months of training, and collectively crowded up to the starting line of the marathon, waiting for the gun. We are all working with a completely new tool set – Google’s G-Suite. We promised team members that they would become richer for the experience, and I believe that. Of course, these G Suite tools will continually evolve and learning how to best use them will require constant learning. However, my last comment notwithstanding, I believe we will deliver on our promise. Why? Because the G Suite advances what I believe are the really “hard skills,” and the ones most irreplaceable, regardless of changes in the technology, economy or industry. 

In a recent New York Times article, LinkedIn identified a number of currently in-demand skills. (And yes, if you have content knowledge in these areas, you are in a very hot hiring market). Employers want and really need the following skills now: 

New “HARD [temporary] SKILLS:

Cloud Computing Expertise.

Data Mining and Statistical Analysis.

Smartphone App Development.

Data Storage Engineering and Management.

User Interface Design.

Network Security Expertise.

Machine Learning/Development.

Robotics.”

However, companies are realizing that they can train (as well as recruit) for these new “hard” (temporary) skills, so they are also focusing on hiring for so-called “soft” (permanent, meta skills). I believe these are the ACTUAL “hard” skills. The following IBM model is a micro-example: A company searches for people with great soft/permanent skills, and trains them to learn the so called “hard skills:”

“In the last two years, nearly a third of IBM’s new hires in Rocket Center (makes fighter plane composites applying cloud computing, cyber security, application development) and in a few other locations, have not had four-year college degrees. IBM has jointly developed curriculums with the local community college, as well as one-year and two-year courses aligned with the company’s hiring needs…”

The really “hard” soft skills are difficult to train for. Why? Learning each one is very individual and time consuming. As well, these skills or attributes are on a continuum. One can continuously invest and get better at applying them over time. If one has a well-developed capability on these individually and as a connected system, it becomes a great permanent investment.

The really “hard” “SOFT [permanent] SKILLS:

Communication [connect/understand/act].

Curiosity.

Adaptability.

Teamwork/Collaboration.

Empathy/Compassion.

Energy Management.

Open-Mindedness/Perspective.

Inventiveness.

Self-Accountability/Respect/Abundance.”

So, back to the G Suite… Learning how to embrace the G Tools as a system involves investing in each of the really hard, soft and permanent skills noted above. While we fully connect and apply the entire tool set, we all will sharpen each of our soft skills and hence make each of us more valuable. Can I guarantee that? No. But I genuinely believe the new “soft skills” are truly the ones to continuously invest in. If you can adapt and change to keen, new, (albeit temporary) content/technical skills AND build on top of growing your soft permanent skills, well, you’re golden. 

Character Moves: 

1. Continuously invest in the “hard/soft” skills above, and you will adapt and always be valuable regardless of the exponential change coming our way. 

“Hard” Soft skills in The Triangle,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: When I think about it, if I’ve ever heard my friends complain about co-workers or colleagues, it’s not the “hard” skills that anyone is lacking… It’s the inability to mesh on a “soft” skill level that makes work become a miserable destination versus somewhere they love showing up and excelling at. It seems you can be hired for your “hard” skills, but you’ll become very hard to replace thanks to excellent “soft” skills.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis