Skills are a Key Ingredient of Success in Contemporary Organizations

Types of Skills

In a world where unprecedented change and relentless competition between individuals, companies, nations, and other players is the norm, to succeed, one must have the right skills. The skills that are acquired as part of the formal education are one aspect and those acquired on the job as well as from informal learning are another aspect. In this article, we refer to both kinds of skills and we categorize them as formal and informal skills. In addition, there are the other skills where the acquisition of degrees and training are characterized as hard skills which land one a job whereas the other skills like soft skills, which are related to managing people, interpersonal communication, and empathy and emotional intelligence are the key aspects are these soft skills. Further, the hard skills are usually acquired during the formal education and on the job training whereas the soft skills are acquired during informal interactions with networks, peers, mentors, and specialized training that is outside of the education and formal employment. Having said that, it must be remembered that both formal and informal skills as well as hard skills and soft skills are sometimes acquired in all settings which means that the ability to learn and adapt are the key determinants rather than which college or institution one attends or which company one starts ones career. Indeed, in the marketplace for jobs and graduates in the 21st century, all kinds of skills are necessary and vital for continued career progression.

Prepare a Personal SWOT Matrix

Whether one is adept at soft skills or hard skills, the fact that one must choose one’s career accordingly should not be lost in the process. For instance, if you are strong on technology but lack interpersonal skills, you must choose to work in a company that places a premium on technology expertise rather than the ability to talk smoothly. Of course, this does not mean that soft skills are not important as the basic requirement in any job or career is how well one relates to others in the workplace. Further, having the ability to communicate and vibe very well is not the only thing you must possess as in recent years; globalization has ensured that all students and professionals are adept in interpersonal communication and language skills. The key point we are trying to make is for you to have a mix of skills and determine your strengths and weaknesses. You must be able to draw a matrix where you list your skills at which you are good and skills that need improvement along with the jobs that require these skills and then plan and apply accordingly. Indeed, the ability to create a personal SWOT matrix would help you to assess where you stand objectively and without biases that can help you in the long run. Apart from this, the fact that you must continually upgrade your skills is something that we shall discuss in the next section and the importance of which cannot be overstated.

The Importance of Continuous Learning

As they say, learning is a lifelong process and there is never a time when you say that you have learnt enough. Indeed, even experts and professionals usually attend continuous job improvement programs where they learn new skills that are compatible with the changing market conditions. As we mentioned in the introduction, the world of the 21st century can be summed up by the maxim, “Hunt or be Hunted” which means that one must constantly outpace the competition and perform better than others if one is to succeed in the uber competitive marketplace. With the ongoing recession making it difficult to get jobs without you having a real edge, it must be emphasized that skill acquisition is a continual process that does not have a full stop.

Emotional Intelligence at Work

Having said that, it must be remembered that apart from having a competitive edge, one must also be able to relate emotionally and intelligently with your peers and superiors in a manner that has come to be known as emotional intelligence at work. This is indeed one of the most important skills, which you need to have apart from being the best on your job. Studies have shown that those professionals who focus hard, relate to people, can sacrifice short-term gratification for longer-term rewards, have perseverance, and can endure failures and setbacks have been found to be at the head of their chosen professions when compared to those who started their careers along with them. In other words, what this means is that one must have the “double whammy” combination of laser sharp focus, a competitive mindset, ability to work hard, and persevere in the face of failure along with empathy and emotional bonding with people to succeed.

Conclusion: It is Your Attitude, which counts

Before concluding this article, we again stress on the fact that when two aspirants for a job are evaluated and when they are found to be equally good, it is the aspirant with the right attitude who is usually selected for the job. This means that no matter how qualified you are and how pedigreed your education is, having the right attitude can take you places. As the saying goes, attitude is everything and the discussion in this article can be summed up as success is determined according to the matrix of skills that comprise all categories and the winner in the ultra tight job market is one whose skill matrix is well balanced and whose personality is well rounded.


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