This is the first post of Quality for Yourself. We'll speak about the aim of QfY in next weeks, because we don't like too long and self-referential intros.
Start from scratch: with Quality for Yourself we think that applying quality and continuous improvement principles to our lives, and also management of emotions, of conflicts, of our own abilities, every sector of our life (job, creativity, relationships, personal, public, private) can take benefits and create a virtuous circle which will bring ourselves to do the best in every field.
So let's begin from what I believe as essential, and that finds direct application in the world of work but can be extended simply to other fields:
we are going to distingush technical skills from core skills, called also life skills.
The importance of core skills
To understand the importance of life skills I'll give you an example concerning my sector: Information Technology. Let's hypotize that mister XY is the best Java developer in the world and that I need exactly a Java developer (technical skill).
Let's also hypotize that he should cooperate and integrate with an external foreign agency.
- Is he able to speak english?
If he doesn't speak english, we have a big problem!
He should be able to do teamwork from remote, so he needs other skills:
- Is he able to work in a team? If he is a lonely and bad-tempered hacker, probably he isn't the right person for me! I need someone else, assertive and capable to cooperate with others!
- Is he able to respect priorities and deadlines which are assigned to him, to manage his own time and tasks by himself, to understand which activities are blocking and are predecessors of other activities, to avoid delays and lock of other resources? A person working in a team at the same time able to manage his time and to manage it according to the others' activities.
- Is he precise? Has he a method? for example in IT world is very important to document, comment and track the work we are going to do, in a manner that others can understand what we did and mantain, modify, check our work. In fact if he If in fact make changes on its own initiative even alerting the others only in a general manner, this behaviour may cause problems in combination with several factors. If he is a very good cook, we hope that he doesn't leave knives everywhere and a dirty kitchen! If he is a student, a researcher or even a simple employee, he should not leave hundreds of sheets with notes on his desk wasting hours and hours to find them or even losing them, frustrating the time and the effort made to write them!
- Is he able to sustain stress situations? It will happen sooner or later that something will go wrong or will cause errors or will need more time than estimated. The requested ability to do this concerns the whole team, but is essential that the person autonomosly doesn't explode, or run away, or flip out. In addition to increment his own stress and the stress of all the team, increasing times to solve the problem, he gives a negative image of himself and whom he represents. A nervous and howling cook, a verbally aggressive manager, a warehouse worker who runs away in a problematic moment, surely don't give a good impression to direct colleagues but also to observers, as potential customers or suppliers o other workers.
Do you begin to understand now? I wrote too much, but it was important to explain this adequately.
Then, to be concrete, which are these life skills?
Main core skills
It depends by the kind of work or project we are going to do, but to have a lot of core skills is always a positive thing! I list some skills here:
- Communication: to be assertive, to be critical constructively, to tighten up the relationships and find potential collaborations, to make teambuilding, to work in groups, to engage communities;
- Scientific abilities not concerning directly our work: to know basis of mathematics, to be able to use technologies, devices, software;
- Humanistic abilities not concerning directly our work: to be open to knowledge, to have cultural interests, to have an interdisciplinary approach, to have other interests than our technical ones;
- Problem solving: to be able to comprehend, analyze, sinthetize, solve a problem finding solutions with minor effort, lateral thinking;
- Creativity: to take part in an individual or collective creative process, to have ideas, imagination, initiative, to be innovative, to be able to manage the creative stream in new projects, to be proactive and purposeful;
- Psychomotorial: to make sport, mental activities, improve memory, search for a psycho-physical equilibrium: "mens sana in corpore sano" - "A sound mind in a sound body."; staying healty helps to improve thinking, to feel better, to be fruitful, to balance the usefulness and our own physica, mental, intellectual, spiritual growth.
In the next posts we'll se how to manage and improve technical and life skills togheter and then we'll speak about mantaining skills, improve skills, graphical visualitazion and representation of skills, some techniques and methods to be aware of our abilities, ways to find which new abilities are worthwhile and which ones can wait.