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Focus on the Future: Develop the “Soft Skills”

April 21st, 2014

By: Karen Colligan

There’s an old saying among recruiters and other hiring professionals – “Hire for attitude, train for aptitude.” Yet how many companies really do that? Look at any job description or posting and you’ll see plenty about the technical skills required and very little about the personal qualities or soft skills needed to succeed in the role. Also, aside from management training, most corporate training programs focus on keeping their employees’ product or technical expertise up to date. Well, the tide is turning.

A recent global research project by Hyper Island – Tomorrow’s Most Wanted found that personal qualities and “soft skills” as opposed to technical skills are the most desirable qualities for the employee of the future.

Not to say that technical skills aren’t important, they are, but tomorrow’s “most wanted” will have a combination of the requisite technical skills, personal qualities and soft skills. The top qualities and skills identified by the world, according to the survey:
Personal qualities: Driven, creative, open-minded
Skills: Idea development, problem solving, creative technology

Other personal qualities that ranked high: trustful, compassionate, stress tolerant, results-oriented.

In light of all this, I say it’s time we rethink how we develop job descriptions and go about attracting and developing the right people for the right positions within our organizations. Create a culture where the “soft skills” are valued as much or more than the “hard skills.” Review your learning and development strategy to ensure that employees have opportunities to build their capabilities in problem solving, innovation, emotional intelligence and other competencies that will help them succeed. Promote people to leadership roles not because they are the best at the function or have been there the longest, but because they demonstrate the personal qualities that will set the bar for the organization in creating the workforce for the future.

Till next time,

Career planning, Learning, Professional development, Uncategorized


Be Yourself! And Other Wisdom from Lives So Far…

April 9th, 2014

By: Karen Colligan

Do you ever wish that you could call up the person you were 20 years ago and share of bit of wisdom from your life so far? What would your advice be? We posed that question recently to our PeopleThink followers and networks with some really interesting and insightful results. What I found most interesting is that the majority of responses fell into three major categories. Here’s the collective wisdom from our respondents’ lives so far…

• It’s all about attitude. Have a great attitude, show up with it and leave with it every day.
• Don’t tell people what you think they want to hear. Be yourself and believe in your gut!
• Always take a calculated risk – it will pay off in the long run.
• Every challenge in life builds strength and character.
• Never let fear hold you back from life. Find your inner confidence to do what you want and move past your fear. Always look for the opportunities to better yourself and others.
• Being strong doesn’t mean you keep it to yourself; talk to someone, unburden yourself.
• Be yourself and don’t be afraid to speak your truth!
• Be more assertive and confident. Be more direct, and STOP apologizing!
• Don’t ever be afraid to take a risk. What felt like huge risks yielded the best outcomes. When you let the fear of failure get in the way, you don’t truly live.

• Be patient. You WILL get everything you aspire to be. Calm down!
• Patience, patience, patience.
• Don’t take the easy road and dare to follow your dreams.
• Listen, observe and learn – be like a sponge and absorb everything you can. Wisdom is precious.
• Have enough faith and confidence in yourself to seize opportunities.
• Focus on what you want, what is important to you.
• Slow down. Don’t worry what other people think about you. Be very clear about your priorities and stay focused on them.
• Develop your interest and follow your dreams.
• Set a goal for the future and make it happen.
• Carpe diem – seize the day.
• Plan ahead, but still enjoy the moment.
• When it comes to your life and direction…only your own opinion matters. Live the life that YOU were meant to live.

• You are worthy, good enough, smart, with many talents and gifts. Go be amazing.
• Enjoy who you are, not who others want or think you should be. Follow your heart. Have as much fun as possible! Enjoy your skinny body while you have it! Live, love, laugh!
• Don’t hide, study hard, now relax.
• Be young. Explore. You only get to live today once.
• Treat yourself with kindness and respect and don’t allow yourself to be abused by anyone.
• Take your time. Life goes faster than you could possibly imagine.
• Enjoy the body that you have, it will change quicker than you think. Also, enjoy the moment that you’re in; don’t take yourself too seriously.
• Don’t be compelled to accommodate the needs of others.
• Pick a career that you love and not one that your parents think is good for you.
• Give yourself a chance now to be more of who you really are so that you don’t have to go through as much crap figuring it all out later.
• First, create a balance in your life of work, family, fun and sport. Then, do each with passion and intensity to get the most out of each that you can!!! Stay close to God because without him none of the above is possible!!!
• Don’t allow yourself to fall into a relationship that is not healthy. Learn to love Number One before loving others.
• Turn off that broken negative recording in your head. See that you truly are beautiful just the way you are.
• There’s always tomorrow.
• Do sports.
• Always have someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.
• Everything is better after a good bottle of wine with a friend.

Of course, all of this wisdom comes from having learned these things through a variety of ups and downs on the roller coaster of life. And for that, one final piece of wisdom submitted…

“Don’t regret decisions you have made. Live with them and get on with life. It’s way too short.”

Till next time,


Learning, Life