The industrial age is over. Organizations still stuck in the industrial age business models are going out of business very fast. Technology is only as good as the people using it. That is the clear message of the new millennium. The knowledge era is supported by tapping into the immense power of the humans to think creatively, find unconventional solutions to add value, improve productivity, and find answers which will make life and work more valuable to the society.
The straight jacketed systems thinking, assembly line techniques adapted to human endeavor has failed to provide the required results. Not that they are not required. But humans cannot be automated. Automation is good only as far as inanimate objects are involved. While discipline is important, systems cannot be the end all to derive the best value out of individuals. Human capital is best exploited when self actualization needs are met.
There is lot more to human beings than repetitive, mechanical operations. Value is derived from out of the box thinking. Values are derived from the best possible team work, communication skills, empathy, intuitiveness, and self management needs of the people.
This realization has resulted in the west embracing soft skills in a big way at considerable expense. The needs of different work environment, industries and business organizations are unique. The same systems applied in different environments will produce different results. The knowledge era demands certain freedom to apply skills specifically suited to the particular set of situation and circumstances.
Soft skills are the key to providing workers with the core skills in communication, team work, leadership; personal effectiveness skills required to leverage one’s individual strengths. With better quality of people the organization will produce higher customer satisfaction and achieve market leaderships.
The soft skills initiative needs to be planned very carefully by organizations. They need to be tailored to the set of circumstances to connect the acquired skills to the workplace.
World’s topmost names in training today-Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy and Edward De Bono are all advocating and emphasizing on a total shift in training to self awareness, core values, mental and creative management skills-indispensable to personal success. Some of these names mentioned above are not even from the management discipline and they are the buzzwords in fortune 500 companies.
What then must a CEO and the HR focus on?
The answer might sound simplistic. Forget the organizational success models. Focus on success of each individual working for the organization. Make him succeed. Be it in work, personal lives or relationships. Make him a better contributor to the society. Take your people's self esteem to a very high level. And they will take your organization to the next level.
Though it may sound dramatic forget the outdated management models and training models. Focus on core human values. The important element is not look into immediate cost benefit analysis which cannot be applied to soft skills training. While you can measure the effective transfer of knowledge you cannot measure the change in behavior in the short term. The process must be defined in the longer term benefits of upping the total value concept of the organizations by improving the human potential and thereby create a much higher market value in all areas of corporate activity.
Look closely and prepare a soft skills inventory required by your organization. Not with the standard training products available. Ensure the training to be tailored to your unique requirement. Start on a strategic plan to improve such skills across the organization. Improve the skills and you automatically improve the bottom line and your market leadership.
R.G. Srinivasan is founder of Born to Win Forum. He is a certified trainer and consultant in training design & methodologies. His articles are published widely across the world and recognized as an Expert Author by leading content syndication sites.
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