Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of Care.com HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.
I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!
Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.
This Week’s Must-Read:
Who it’s for:
Everyone. Every leader, every manager, every employee.
Why it’s important:
It’s time to prioritize the gaps in behavioral and leadership skills. While technical skills and digital skills are still in high demand, executives are placing the highest priority on behavioral, also known as soft skills.
The IBM Institute for Business Value recently surveyed approximately 5,670 executives across 48 countries to learn more about the skills needed to execute business strategies. Of 12 technical and behavioral skills identified, highest priority was placed on:
- A willingness to be flexible, agile, and adaptable to change
- Time-management skills and ability to prioritize
- Ability to work effectively in a team environment
- Ability to communicate effectively in a business context
The data are quite clear: Digital skill gaps are being addressed; the leadership and behavior skills gaps are not. And these are the skills that are critical to dealing with the challenges most businesses are facing every day – adapting to constant change; prioritizing our time to work on the most important things, even as priorities shift; learning to listen and collaborate in a team; and understanding how to communicate ideas, findings and recommendations in a compelling way contextualized to the business. These “soft skills” (that term has to be retired, by the way) are complex and behavioral in nature, and they represent uniquely human skills that cannot be done by machines.
Consider the wage growth of these four job families:
- Low social, low math (highly routine)
- Low social, high math (technical)
- High social, low math (complex and managerial, but not technical)
- High social, high math (complex and managerial, and technical)
Over the last 30 years, highly routine jobs (assembly work) have plummeted in value. Technical jobs (engineers, programmers) have fallen slightly behind. Jobs with high social skills (sales, project managers, marketing) have increased in value, and those that require both technical and managerial have increased the most.
You know that the biggest challenges we have at work are not technical. Rather, they involve managing your time well, learning how to work in a team, and learning how to influence, support and coach other people.
Individuals need to grow and improve soft skills and companies can speed up progress by offering a wide range of development opportunities, including formal development, self-directed learning, developmental assignments, apprenticeship programs and moving talent across functions and business units.
Top Take-Away: It’s time to prioritize your “soft skills.” Companies can also speed up progress by investing in formal programs that develop the skills people need for the complex, hybrid job roles of the future that offer the greatest opportunity.
More Help for Developing Your Soft Skills:
6 Techniques to Better Your Problem-Solving Skills
9 Ways to Develop Your Leadership Skills