Once upon a time there was 1994. The inauguration of the Channel Tunnel, the North American Free Trade Agreement-NAFTA taking effect, and the election of Nelson Mandela as new President for South Africa. But it is also the year in which the World Health Organization created the term "life skills", to indicate a set of skills that actually facilitate the well-being of the person and, more generally, of the society. Skills that, unfortunately, are often totally outside the traditional school system. After 25 years, in a world investing more and more in skills different from those called "hard", the so-called technical-specialist knowledge, and that winks at soft, transversal skills, the World Economic Forum proposes and updates an accent on learning and development of the person, in addition to "professional training". An appeal that certainly impacts on HR, called to govern a revolution of approach to human capital, but also and especially on individuals, who today more than ever must go beyond concepts such as "learn" and “learn how to do", focusing on "learn to become" and "learn to learn".
In an ever-changing market, where the most pressing need is no longer just having skills, but also updating them continuously, prepare for the world of work or keep up with it in a way that is competitive, means having a consolidated technical skills background, but above all, having a wealth of other more cross-cutting skills. The only ones that can make a difference, both on a personal and on a professional level. Let's look at the Top10 proposed by the WEF.
1. Problem solving in complex contexts. Flexibility, adaptiveness to complicated contexts, predictive reading skills. Understanding, managing and solving problems, of any nature and in a quick way, is now a must.
2. Critical thinking. The know-how to quickly analyze and evaluate the situations in which you are (or in which you are about to find yourself). It calls into question the mastery of an excellent ability to observe and listen, as the basis for the construction of an experience that the individual can rework, and adapt to situations with clarity, precision and accuracy.
3. Creativity. If we only look at the start-upping phenomenon, it will not be difficult for us to understand how today the difference can be guaranteed, at work and in the private life, by the ability to think "out-of-the-box", that is, outside the usual paradigms. Thanks also to the economic contraction of the markets, this new "art of arranging" (positively) often makes the pair in the company with the theme of the inclusion of young people, bearers of a new vision, more devoid of stereotypes, sometimes totally disruptive.
4. People management. Being able to manage people doesn't just mean having the ability to organize a team's work. It means, above all, being able to generate motivation, enhancement of resources. It's something that takes a lot of time, and a good dose of emotional intelligence. And it's something that has a lot to do with both the effectiveness of the decisions made, and the principle of trust, considered in terms of feedback to be returned to people.
5. Coordination. Being a group. Not just a set of people, but a unicum that can organize the work, define priorities, team up in a synergistic way, to really build something together. It is the noble (and far from simple) art of balancing impulse and renunciation to be the protagonist. To accept that one's contribution is positively absorbed by a larger and wider work.
6. Emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman built an empire (of books, in the first place) on the ability to recognize, understand and manage emotions. Your own, just like those of others. In the WEF's Top10 it appears as a single entry, but since it is the cross-cutting competence par excellence, we can find traces in virtually all the other items on the list.
7. Decision making. Again we have a "border line" skill, in the sense that we also find a part of it in people management. Decision making ability makes the pair, in the good manager identikit, with the most empathetic ability to share (and listen). But it has a more strategic tone, because it assumes being able to judge correctly at the right time.
8. Service orientation. To be useful while being caring, collaborative and inclined to focus on the needs of others. Here, too, a strong dose of empathy makes all the difference.
9. Negotiation. Maybe we don't even notice. But every day we find ourselves dealing with a long list of negotiations. Sometimes, we solve them simply by using instinct, common sense or similar previous experiences. But that's not exactly negotiating. To be negotiators we have to deal with (and analyse) the different situations in a strategic way.
10. Flexibility. We find it on every job vacancy announcement that we're shooting today. It could not be otherwise, given the rapid evolution of the labour market. In fact, flexibility is part of those "plus" to keep in your pocket and use as needed, at particular moments in professional and even personal lives. It is an evolutionary principle, which forces us to change, re-orienting our actions in a more adaptive way, according to the changed conditions of the system in which we are living in.
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