Thursday, 1 October 2009

Hammer Time! New Job Skills

Hello Again
Have you ever heard this? “If the only tool you have is a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail” That came from Abraham Maslow a famous humanist psychologist of the 20th century.

What’s your hammer? It may be MS Excel, it may be project management, it maybe a web design package, Object Oriented code, a telephone call, a statistical calculation, a motivational may of course be a hammer but we don’t see so much of that in professional services recruitment.
Different Perspectives

There are various problems in the business space and they need to be solved in different ways. The solutions need to be communicated to people with disparate views of the world. Some people want a solution presented in minute detail and some want the big picture. Some want to stick to the facts some need an analogy. Some want it explained in terms of a diagram and some in terms of numbers. Some want it answered in terms of people and emotions and some in terms of bottom line. Most managers want it answered yesterday!

I was at Henley Business School this weekend studying for my MBA and I saw how a group of 60 hugely intelligent people put up their own filters of experience, expertise and context when answering a single question and understood it in 60 different ways.

So how does this discussion help your job search? How does it affect your career development?
Different Audiences

In modern business we need to think about different ways of seeing the world and understand the different key drivers people have. When someone is looking for a new Business Analyst or Software Developer they aren’t just looking for that core skill. They want to make sure your culture and personality is a good fit, that you are likely to stick around, respect your colleagues and that you are someone they can work with. They want to see that you can empathise and handle different stakeholders and that you can understand what people really mean or are really thinking. Can you see things from the point of view of a banker, an HR manager, an accountant, a marketing manager or a salesman? You may have spotted that most interviews feature more than one of these people...
Expand Your Toolkit

So what I’m trying to say is if you’re going to do some self development work, don’t add to your hammer with another hammer. Why not add some different items to your toolkit of skills? Maybe you’d consider a foundation qualification in HR, or marketing or accounts. You may be surprised at the difference it makes to your effectiveness, your understanding and to your career.

I hope you found this interesting. We’ll probably talk about something simpler next time.

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