Social (VII) – Soft skills are needed today more than ever

If some companies have started to realize the importance of soft skills, few have truly incarnated the 21st century’s look for spiritual goals, life purposes, and alignment objectives; some may say that it is not the company’s role to train people in these areas but, when the same is asking for 24hr presence through Blackberry or I-phone technology, can they have their cake and eat it too?  A give and take is needed in these new ventures!  In fact, more recent companies have addressed that overlap and offered many ways to alleviate the blurring of frontiers: concierge services, massages, baby care centers are now being offered by some to compensate for the daily job hassle.

Going along the above and typical trends whereby employees spend a good chunk of their work hours on personal chores (web perusal for vacations or other, personal calls, etc.), some companies have wanted to crystallize, in their strategy, the personal time needed for anyone to feel better; this goes both ways: makes people happier and more productive, in the end.  Some have even made it the Pareto rule of work time; against favoring innovative spirit in the organization, Google has given employees 20% time for their own personal project against the need to report to your boss about it.   Personal time and innovative balance both go towards employee happiness.

Going beyond that, it is clear that company strategies have to think beyond the material walls that they hope to maintain around their employees.  It is not just the travelling salesman that has the ‘out of bound’ workplace (hotel rooms, client abode, etc.), working at home has become the reality for a majority of employees, thanks or damned the technology that allows it.  It is not just an impediment, it is often seen as a boon: not need to call a day off because your kid needs a doctor’s visit, take your job with you and games for the youth, you can patiently wait in the ward for the appointment to arrive.  But, this goes way beyond the unexpected; it is now a part of daily organization.

All of this is made possible, thanks to the fact that one can travel with its own computer and files, thus making, as we are often reminded, the CIO (Chief Information Officer) a major part of the modern organization; time to move to web 2.0 inside and not just leave it to kids on Facebook!  In any case, the flood is such that one had better go along than standing across from the tsunami…  Social networking is an integral part of company strategy from recruitment to daily exchanges inside the organization to outside perusal of product acceptance.  If you are not versed into this technology, you are bound to go against the tide; just think about Wiki leaks and this gives you shivers!

Bring it altogether and you get collective intelligence!  Wow, you have come a long way, baby!   When it comes to intelligence, the whole can indeed be greater than the sum of its parts. A new study  co-authored by MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Union College researchers documents the existence of collective intelligence among groups of people who cooperate well, showing that such intelligence extends beyond the cognitive abilities of the groups’ individual members and that the tendency to cooperate effectively is linked to the number of women in a group.  This links IT with diversity, gender balance, emotional intelligence.


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