In this fast-changing world where corporates are demanding highly skilled workers, many employers are coming up with several skills that they seek in their prospect employees. Statistics from the recent years show these demands are higher than the supply, In the year 2020 these are going to be more and more demanding since the ratio of youth seeking employment and available jobs has reached its peak than ever, hence it is of great importance that you embark on acquiring these essential ‘POWER SKILLS’ and Traits, that will not only keep you top in the list of selected candidates dream job but also will surely enhance your performance capabilities whilst you are on the job.
The idea of penning down this article initiated whilst I was at the 6th Dubai international project management forum, listening to the keynote speech by PMI’s CEO and President, Sunil Prashara, on the 9th of December 2019. In his keynote, Mr. Prashara highlighted these 13-emerging human ‘power skills’ and traits.
The knowledge and skills that are needed to perform industry specific tasks and that are practical, often relate to mechanical, mathematical, scientific or information technology. For example, coding skills in a programming language, knowledge of software or hardware tools depending on the requirement of your profession and industry. Having more than one technical skill is always a plus and this batch of skills is often referred to as a skill set or hybrid skills.
In the project management discipline, organizations are now demanding that the project managers must atleast have a working knowledge and proficiency in the industry specific technical skills, besides other managerial skills that are essential on a project.
The very definition of creativity is to ‘think outside the box’. It means having a different perspective of doing a task that is being done in a traditional manner. This often involves lateral thinking or the ability to perceive things that are not obvious. Creative people could formulate new ways to carry out tasks, solve problems, and meet challenges, that bring in a new perspective to their work and sometimes with untraditional approach.
Organizations continuously are on the look for people with this type of mindset, to move in more productive directions. Whilst some are naturally blessed with this skill, it can be developed through practice. It may be unfair if I don’t mention that creativity is crucial for innovation. There is no innovation without creativity. Since most businesses out there look for value creation, I want to highlight that Value Creation is the key metric in both the creativity and innovation.
At the 6th Dubai International project management forum, on the 10th of Dec’19, the benefits management expert Judge Mathura explained how creativity in mapping benefits leads to Value creation. His work is captured in his book ‘Practical Benefit Realisation Management’ where he marvellously penned down the detailed explanation on this subject.
While some may argue if cultural awareness is a skill or not, I leave it for you to decide based on the matter I am going to present below. In this current age of globalisation where multi-cultural teams work together, being culturally aware is the Key and a necessity, especially when it comes to running business and projects. Cultural awareness is about being open to embrace the cultural diversity. It is to learn and understand more about the world where there is less certainty. Being equipped with the cultural awareness, you’ll know how to deal with the challenging situations that you or your organization may face.
Since we all live and work in a global community, we all have some sense of cultural awareness but a very few of us take the time to reflect on the cultural gaps and build the knowledge to develop our understanding of the cultural awareness. When we talk about developing this skill, I believe that it’s important to mention the ways to develop it. Like many skills, the cultural awareness cannot be achieved through training or a short course. It is through reading, travelling, mingling with people from different cultures, asking questions, that one can develop his or her understanding in cultural awareness.
Being culturally aware means, you understand how cultures differ in their approaches to areas like management, communication, meetings, negotiations, sales, presentations, and work habits, to find a common ground between these approaches for the successful outcomes.
This is brilliantly penned down in the book ‘The Culture Map’ by Erin Meyer, who is a business writer and professor at INSEAD Business school, where she focuses on how the world’s most successful managers navigate the complexities of cultural differences in a global environment. I would also like to mention that her presence and keynote speech on this subject, on the 9th of Dec’19, captivated the hearts and minds of the audience at the 6th Dubai International project management forum.
Most of the professionals still believe that once they’ve earned all the degrees and certifications needed for their dream jobs, their learning days are over. This is the most careless and dangerous way to manage a career, because the rate of rapidly emerging technologies, transforming business models, evolving processes and increasing work force, is growing higher than ever before and beyond our expectations.
We know that the Change is constant, but it would be also interesting to notice the pace of change which is accelerating day by day and to be successful in any industry, professionals must adopt the practices and habits that empower lifelong learning. They must not let in the feeling of incapability, mask their desire for learning a new skill. For you to take control of your own learning is important that you have the right mindset and to be specific the ‘Growth Mindset’ which is now being embraced in the corporate world like never before.Lifelong learning demands self-commitment to developing one’s knowledge, skills and abilities over an entire lifespan. With the same intention in mind, we at Denkoit are working on an e-learning project that would help learners and professionals develop their skills in a more effective and efficient manner. The conjugal of growth mindset with a dedication to lifelong learning is the most powerful combination for consistent career growth and success, which is crucial at every stage of your career. So, you ought to ask yourself: What do I want to Learn next? What is my next goal? And be gritty in accomplishing that goal.
Many of us may hold in our minds, a different meaning and definition of humility. For some being humble may mean to be modest and for some it may mean not to feel superior over others. On the other hand, some may even argue that being humble means that a person has a low opinion of himself or the one who is timid or submissive.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less”
Should I tell you that Humility is a Leadership Skill, it may surprise you. But its true and with respect to leadership, being humble isn’t about being submissive or powerless. It’s in fact a source of great strength, where you calmly maintain confidence and pride in who you are, in your achievements and worth, without bragging arrogance. Humility doesn’t mean there’s a lack of drive in achieving goals.
Humble leaders keep their egos in check and place the strength and success of the team forward. This is one of the characteristics of the project manager highlighted in the PMI’s PMBOK® guide to project management. Another quality that it lists is that the project manager must be Authentic. To be a humble leader means the leader must be genuine and authentic. This invites trust, respect and curiosity. A successful leader can lead with influence and power in one hand and humility in the other. Authentic leaders blend humility, power and influence.
To relate a recent experience with such a personality, is the CEO and President of the Project Management Institute, Sunil Prashara with whom I had a chance to meet at the 6th Dubai International Project Management Forum, which was like a dream come true. Both the attendees at the 6th Dubai International Project Management Forum and the netizens witnessed the Humility and Authenticity embedded in his personality that attracted audience toward him, with the feeling of trust and respect, making us more curious to learn more about him.
This mainly relates to respecting individual and cultural differences at work, amongst teams or in personal life. Individuals and organizations must engage in social responsibility. Sometimes it’s just about being in the right place at the right time for the right purpose. It displays both social awareness and how much we care of how our decisions affect others. Individual ethics and social responsibility are closely linked with the organizational standards and policies, since it is the people who are behind the formation of organizational policies.
Few of the many activities that contribute to one’s social responsibility skills are: - Community Building Participate in community building activities amongst different sections of society. - Service to Support Offer service to help others in distress, without any compensation. - Delivering Education Enrich, Enhance and Assist others to learn new skills, change positively through knowledge sharing or by offering a product or a service. - Empathising Have the ability to experience the feelings of others, but putting ourselves in their shoes. - Multi-Cultural Insight Experience and establish positive relationship with those who come from different background, different culture, speak different language or experience different social conditions. - Demonstrating Ethics Exhibit ethical behaviour with respect to the rights of other individuals. - Caregiving Provide help and support consistently to nurture and sustain other people.
I want to take this opportunity to talk about one of such personalities, Ann Makosinski (Inventor & Founder - Makotronics Enterprises), one of the brilliant panellists at the Millennial Project Managers panel at the 6th DIPMF. She out of social responsibility laid out support for her friend, inventing a product that helped her in education. When Ann’s friend in the Philippines messaged her explaining that she failed her grade in school because she couldn’t afford electricity or light to study with at night, Ann knew she could solve her friend’s problem. She invented the Hollow Flashlight, a flashlight that runs off the heat of the human hand. Ann’s flashlight won at both the Intel Science and Engineering Fair and Google Science Fair.
Key to many of the above skills is the ability to genuinely listen. This helps you in many ways especially in engaging stakeholders on your project or business and understanding them better to know how they are affected by your activities or project or by the business your organization does. This helps you develop your internal and external strategies that are well executed to succeed.
A Good judgement includes contemplating the outcomes of one’s decisions, thinking before acting/speaking, and having the tools to analyse the decision in a range of situations especially challenging. This includes planning, prioritising, forecasting, meeting deadlines, setting goals or targets for ourselves or teams or departments or organizations.
The judgement in the context decision making, can be briefed into three fragments: - The ability or capacity to decide It is the ability of an individual or a group to make measured and effective decisions, to make sensible conclusions, perceive and distinguish relationships, understand circumstances and situations and form objective opinions particularly in the matters that affect action.
- The thought processes used to decide It is the internal thought process that is reasonable, to draw sound conclusions, forming an opinion or distinction, about people, situations, ideas or events through evaluation, contrast, and/or deliberation.
- The resulting decisions from exerting judgment The opinion, conclusion, determination, or outcome produced from exercising or demonstrating judgment.
This can be defined as the behaviour that helps individuals and groups work together enabling the team to accomplish a task or project successfully, whether at work, on a project or in any other social gatherings. It is an essential skill that you must look forward to excelling in all aspects of life and work. Almost every organisation today necessitates joint effort amongst the team members working together collaboratively especially in this age when economies from multiple continents are merging to carry out business in different parts of the world, with people from different cultural backgrounds. Hence this makes cooperation a must have skill in any given sector of the corporate world, with respect for diversity and open-mindedness.
This is the one of the most effective way to build trust amongst individuals, groups, departments or organisations, enabling them to better manage priorities, meet stakeholder expectations, through engaging with each other efficiently to produce the desired outcomes, within given time and budget, achieving both individual and business goals.
Dr. Khaled A. Hamdy, the Projects Advisor to the Chairman of the Board of the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai, Frederik Haentjens, a Human Capital & Organisational Transformation author, Eng. Ahmed O. Arab, Deputy Governor for Strategy at the Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and Rebecca Fox, the Head of Membership at the Association for Project Management, emphasized the importance of collaborative skills and other elements that would enable a successful outcome for the team and organisation, during a panel discussion on Remote & Collaborative Project Management at the 6th DIPMF conference.
There’s a lot more to add to the elements required for a successful and healthy collaboration and this space in the article wouldn’t be enough to include all the elements. Hence, for now I would leave it for you to research the web to learn more about this. I will try to mention a separate article on this some time soon in the future.
When it comes to personal and professional development, Mentors are important part of it. They guide you through times when you need someone who can point you in the right direction, just like a captain on the ship directs it in the right direction.
Being a professional you must be able to mentor and at the same time you should also be Mentorable. It all starts with the willingness to help others and sharing the best practices to help others succeed in their endeavour. Do not mistake mentoring with coaching, as it is very different from being a coach. As a mentor you need to tell your mentee, what to do next, coaches don’t do this.
As a mentor, you need to remember that you too are always learning and developing. So, whilst you are learning you need to act as a mentee, as this will give you a better insight of how you would be able to help, when you mentor someone. As a mentee you would want a mentor who’s enthusiastic, respectful to others and is himself a respected expert in the subject. This understanding will help you create a beneficial relationship with your mentee if you’re a mentor and with your mentor in case you’re a mentee.
Remember that you’ll have to have good communication skills, such as active listening and questioning skills, so that both the mentor and mentee can understand the situation being discussed.
Interpersonal skills are the behaviours and tactics of an individual which he uses to interact with others effectively. These range from your communication skills to your demeanour. Almost all organisations highlight that the candidate applying for a job in their organisation must have strong interpersonal skills meaning they possess the ability to work well with others. These skills are often referred to as social intelligence, which means that they depend on appropriate and accurate communication.
Since it’s an increasing and continuous demand in the industry, you must hasten to equip yourself with the Interpersonal skills to develop your career. Active listening (able to elicit and entirely process the information from the speaker), expressing appreciation, dispute resolution, negotiation, conflict management, emotional intelligence, team building, collaboration, knowledge sharing and public speaking, are all interpersonal skills that you will find worth practicing and are always in demand in the corporate world.
Whilst there are skills that can be developed by reading a book, it is not the case with Interpersonal skills, they must be cultivated and best honed through practice. From the benefits of having strong interpersonal skills, you become aware of the social expectations and customs, adjust your communication and tactics depending on the reaction of others, negotiate better, and for that reason everyone will like being around you. Employees with strong interpersonal skills are team players, who work well with others to achieve a goal, and are valued for their positive and solution-oriented attitude.
Hone these skills should you want to be a leader rather than a team member. Team building skills enhance your chances to grow in your career by developing your leadership skills. It is to know how to help individuals or team members work as a cohesive group where all the members feel responsible for their assigned tasks, devoted in the direction and accomplishments of the team.
Communication, Collaboration, Leadership, Problem Solving, Motivation, Delegation are a few of several team building skills that you must excel in order to grow in your career. Organizations believe that teams that are highly collaborative will achieve greater productivity, higher morale, less counter-productive conflicts, and better customer relations.
Being financially savvy can be described as the ability of an individual to know and appropriately manage costs either his own, or on his project, or in his organisation. In our personal lives we all keep a close eye on our finances, both through budgeting and regularly checking our bank account balances, to ensure well being and happiness. Similarly, it is of utmost importance that you know your project figures in order to plan, spend, save, monitor and control costs.
Especially when you are in a position of project manager, it is mandatory for you to know the ins and outs of financing will help you better understand and manage your money. Try to get in the habit of reading contracts, financials of your project and organisation, as this will help you to stay in control of your spending. It is worth having a read of the various past or current financials of your organisation that are available on public portals for viewers. Know the contingencies in your project so you can plan for the risks. Finance is involved when procuring resources for your project or organisation. An individual with such skills is essentially required to help his organisation or employer, manage costs and find additional capital for running and growing business, making valuable acquisitions, finalising deals and forecasting for the future.
In the context of project, finance is related to everything that you do on a project, including scope, schedule, quality, risk, resources and procurement, during all the project phases, during planning, executon, monitor & control and closure. Cost management chapter links all of these where and as necessary. Moreover, new strategies are devised for the projects and organisations, based on the current financing needs and future funding requirements. Therefore, these skills are very significant for a successful career as a manager on a project or in the organisation. Individuals who are financially savvy and possess corporate finance skills make valuable contributions to the investment and financing decisions of the firm, helping the business grow and hence hold a high regard for the organisation and its top-level executives.
Strategy means thinking purposely and consciously about your project and organisation, and the purpose must be embedded in the core of the strategy. This must be done in a proactive way which means to ask the right questions before you get started. For instance, why is this process or a service needed? Who is involved? How will this impact the project and the organisation as a whole? And what will be the period of that impact? To ensure success you must know where and how you are moving on with the process.
It is crucial that you involve all the stakeholders in the process, by keeping them informed or by engaging them as necessary, so that they are prepared for the change. This necessitates that you chose the effective communication plan through appropriate channels available in your organisation. Whilst implementing the strategy you must make sure that all the risks are analysed and taken into consideration along with the responses ready in case of occurrence. This not only helps in value creation but also generates sustained profitability growth, at the same time strengthening ties with the stakeholders.