In the business environment where competition, uncertainty, sensitivity, demand planning, supply chain, risk management, business models etc are the terms which you keep coming across, in the same environment growth is important and also differentiating oneself is equally important. Today your skills can be your differentiator. It is the most important asset one should possess. When skills are being discussed one cannot ignore the applied knowledge which is demonstrated at the workplace.
To be successful there is a need to acquire skills which will help the employer and will definitely help the owner of the skills. Skills seriously can be great differentiators and one will have to use them effectively to ensure that it is working. Functional skills are very important and they have a lot of weight age but they may take you to level but may not help to climb the ladder which one is looking for. Along with the functional skills some of the other skills which are very important are as below:
- Analytical capability
- Critical Thinking ability
- Customer centric approach
- Communication skills
- Learning ability
- People management skills
1. Analytical skills:
You may have functional expertise of HR, finance, operations or marketing but one skill which is very important is analytical capability. This capability is irrespective of any function in the business and is also required at all the levels in the organization. The higher you grow the more you need to sharpen this ability. Analysis could be of data or a situation; this skill will enable you to differentiate yourself. It will be good to acquire this skill. One should figure out how data can be analyzed and what are the different tools which are available for analysis. Data modeling, data analysis and interpreting the data will be of great help.
2. Critical Thinking Ability:
This is an ability which could be developed once you start looking at things critically or with a critical angle. Initially there could be a need to learn this skill from a professional who has acquired expertise and who can help you understand how to acquire this ability over a period of time. This skill essentially focuses on developing reasoning ability, logics, evaluating a situation with different angles, etc. One should be in a position to deduce consequences from what all information he has.
3. Customer Centric Orientation:
Businesses exist because of customers and customers today understandwho is customer centric in the approach and who is not. In the services driven economy it is important to start thinking like customers, so that you can anticipate what customer could be thinking. It is will also allow you to continuously innovate in your approach. This will help you and your organization to create a base of satisfied customer.
4. Communication skills:
This is one of the most important skills one should possess. This ability will allow you to showcase your other talents and will also help you to cover you on your weak areas. In the absence of this wonderful skill you may lose grounds if you fail to express your views, in spite of you being talented. Along with the so called language, there is a need to work on the body language, ability to ask questions, art of answering, art of expressing through gestures and postures and projecting one's personality. Selling skills and negotiation skills could be considered as a part of the communication skills.
5. Learning Ability:
Businesses are changing at a speed which is faster than ever. One will have to keep pace with the changing business scenario. The faster people acquire learning ability the better it would be both for the organization and individual. One will have to identify the gaps in the knowledge levels and will have to continuously update and upgrade oneself to be competitive. The younger generation is exposed to technology at a very early stage of life and they would have an advantage of picking up things little faster than the senior professionals. The seniors will have to continue to learn from their juniors and through online resources.
6. People Management Skills:
One of the most difficult to acquire, but one of the most important to possess skill is people management skills. This skill is required right from the day one in the market place till the time you leave this beautiful earth. One need to understand people and should be in a position to understand the strength of people resources. This skill allows you to drive the work in this ever demanding market place. One will have to apply leadership capabilities and will have to keep the goal in mind. This skill has to be supported by communication ability and other abilities discussed above.
Dr. Nitin Joshi. Director, Leading Managment Institute in Mumbai