All posts filed under: Skills

All about developing competencies

Build your Skills: Systems Thinking

I’ve always been fascinated by pictures of Planet Earth from outer space, especially those at night. You recognise the planet, then the plethora of illuminated cities. The largest ones seem globes of light in the night. Smaller cities look more like bland spots. In some areas, you can also see the main roads connecting the towns. Sometimes you see an isolated light place in the middle of the night. You still own a clear perception of the planet versus the deep black of the outer space. Perceiving this, the whole composed of the parts, as well as the relationship between the components, is System thinking, the critical skill that I will illustrate in this post.  In a recent post, I wrote about the dangers of Thinking in categories. I pointed out that to overcome the limits of categorical Thinking, it is necessary to drive models and tools of what is called “Systems Thinking”. However, it’s not just a question of means: I genuinely believe that Systems Thinking should be seen as a skill, and ability to foster and develop, and that …

Build your Skills: Decision-Making

In my organisational experience, I noticed that one of the most complex skills to master is Decision-Making. This even though anecdotal evidence tells that each of us takes many decisions every day.  Many decisions might be easy to take. What to eat for lunch, where to go over the weekend, which blog to read next… At work, however, things often look different. For sure, an impact can be due to some issues in the operational governance model of your organisation. Unclear rules, not formalised delegation, blurry roles definitions, unset escalation routes, all these aspects may hinder or stall your decision-making process.  In many cases, organisational absences are an alibi. Many managers tend to avoid or delay decision making also in areas entirely within their scope of work. Why?  There can be multiple reasons. However, from my experience, many people have not been taught how to make decisions.  Very often, we identify Decision Making as a Process. If you look at it this way, there are multiple places where decisions can be stuck. There are many alternative models here, but the one …

Build your Skills: Listening

Listening is one of the most critical skills in a work environment. Yet, not much effort is given to learning how to listen. In most cases, there’s simply a “discipline” approach, taught at school, by which people often learn how to fake attention, rather than listen to what other people say. I don’t want to spend too much time on how to build this skill in generic terms. There’s abundant literature online full of practical tips and tricks worth looking at. I’m more interested in the development of this capability in the framework of an Organisation, up to the level of developing an overall listening strategy. Listening becomes a critical element of designing an organisation “for the whole self“, as a newly identified trend suggests. The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. Rachel Naomi Remen, Culture of Empathy Individual Listening When we think at the personal level, Listening is composed of multiple “habits”, heavily influenced by different traits of personality. Sometimes …

Build your Skills: Learning Agility

The concept of Learning Agility dates back to 1970, when American author Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock, investigated the move from the traditional industrial age to a new age dominated by Information. He crafted a new definition of what literacy meant, anticipating by a decade the more complete definitions of Learning Agility: The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970 The switch from a concept of Literacy based on the simple accumulation of “stocks” of information, changes into a fluid model where the learning and unlearning have the same relevance. It’s this dynamic element that is the innovative portion of this skill’s definition. Today this skill is in high demand, and has been strongly associated with Leadership. Put simply, “it’s the ability to be in a novel situation, not know what to do, and then figure it out anyway. Individuals who learn the ‘right’ lessons from past experiences are high in learning agility, …

Build your skills: Curiosity

When I’m asked what’s the most important skill I look for during a recruiting process, I don’t hesitate to say curiosity. Some consider this an innate side of our character, some an attribute of personality, some a skill that can be even taught. Whatever that is, I believe this to be one of the key elements that can make or break our success at work. I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. Albert Einstein Psychologists have compiled a large body of research on the benefits of curiosity. It links with intelligence, with motivation, with engagement and performance, with more meaningful goals, as well as with overall success. In 2017 the George Mason University developed a model to understand curiosity based on 5 dimension: Deprivation Sensitivity: I have a gap in knowledge that I need to fill in, Joyous Exploration: I’m consumed with wonder about the fascinating world. Social Curiosity: I like to talk and observe people, to understand what they’re thinking. Stress Tolerance: I accept and exploit the anxiety to experiment new …