Core Skillset

That's business coffee

Random Observation/Comment #257: “Life does flash before your eyes when you die. It’s called living.” Health and happiness.

Let’s be honest – I’ll always be an engineer and a geek.  Nothing can undo what Cooper, A.I., robotics, and Anime has done to me.  But there’s something that I felt was missing from my bottle cap collection and food photography obsession – physical communication.  Haha, I kid. Luckily, as with any weakness, I sought to squash it by throwing myself in the deep end and seeing if I could float.

After some research and personal trial-and-error, I’ve narrowed down a few skillsets that anyone of almost any profession, should possess:

  • Consider the Business Strategy – When you think about a project, always remember the bigger picture and know why you’re doing it.  Take some sort of ownership instead of just being a contributor. Every team member can have great ideas, and they shouldn’t just think of these solutions from a narrow and detailed perspective.
  • Communication – If you don’t convey the message, and convey it clearly, who will? I can’t read your mind… Deliver a clear message and be able to speak, not politically, but diplomatically.
  • Critical Thinking – With any project, show that you’ve given it some thought and approached the problem from all angles to solve the problem.  Show your work.
  • Manage and Lead Change – “Change is the only constant.” Take the opportunities to fill the gaps. Trust me – the initiative always helps.
  • Develop others and delegate work – Don’t just be a manager of tasks, but also be a good mentor that considers their team as friends looking out for each other’s best interests. It’s important to be able to also develop other leaders and expand your skillset without feeling threatened.
  • Understand Financial Metrics – It’s not necessary to know everything about finance, but at least know some basic things like Return on Investment and Benefit Cost Ratios because everything dealing with corporations and business will boil down to something financial.  Be able to think from a business perspective and speak that abstracted managerial language.

I think out of all of these, communication is by far the most important.  It’s probably the broadest one that applies to almost everything in life.  If you can speak without financial jargon, speak without technical lingo, and speak without BS, then you’ll find a nice middle ground where you relate to your audience.

Step in their shoes, use analogies, and then convey, not just features, benefits, dollars, advantages, etc – but convey the personalized solution.  Once you can see that person’s value system, then you’ll be able to speak their language and connect.  Obviously, everyone is different, and you can’t just bucket people into personalities, but just be observant and listen.

Now that you’re aware of it, just practice. Explain a database to a grandmother.  Explain a CD player to a child born in 2000.  Explain quantum mechanics to a psychology major.  Explain love to anyone.

~See Lemons Improve