Hard Skills, Soft Skills, Work Ethic

Hard Skills, Soft Skills, Work Ethic for Success

 Danny Iny’s Leveraged Learning gets into the qualities that enable success currently. He quotes research done by Harvard University University, Stanford Research Center, and Carnegie Foundation. They found that companies were looking for people that had “soft skills”, developed from good habits.

That term is not defined in Leveraged Learning. Here is how I understand it from The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle. A hard skill is one that is done the same way every time. A pickleball serve that succeeds is done the same way each time.

A soft skill is responsive to the situation. A winning pickleball strategy can change as the game progresses, depending on how the teams learn the others side’s weaknesses.

Similarly, the University of Pennsylvania found that more than 50% of new hires had to be dismissed before a year passed. And almost 90% were let go because of attitude not for lack of skill. 

Attitude would be a soft skill in this context. So would self-management, motivation, punctuality, and work ethic. All of these are listed as desirable qualities in a good employee. They are called character issues.

Hard skills would be ability to write, to read and understand, to make a spreadsheet. Whereas the work ethic is more subtle and learned by immersing oneself in work situations. 

Work Ethic as an Entrepreneur

All the qualities that companies are looking for in an employee are the same as the qualities you would look for in yourself as an entrepreneur. The term “self-employment” implies you ae both the boss and the employee. Are you a good boss? Are you a good employee?

Good bosses are clear in what they expect from their employees work. They don’t keep changing instructions or work objectives. That means as a self-employment boss you need to be clear on your objectives. You may have to change tactics. That’s okay, but to keep changing the target will confuse the worker, which is you.

That slightly schizophrenic idea in “self-employment” doesn’t occur in “entrepreneur.”

The word comes from French, which comes from Latin, meaning to take things from one place to another. Just generalize the definition and you can see online entrepreneurs at work, taking ideas and concepts and processes from a source to a user/marketplace. 

Still the good qualities of an employee bear on the entrepreneur. Are they motivated like a good employee? Do they have good self-management, or self-discipline like a good employee? And most of all, do they have a good work ethic?

When I came across this extended part of Dany Iny’s book Leveraged Learning, I was noticing the synchronicity, too. Just at the same time I got to this passage I was finishing Connie Ragen Green’s Rethinking the Work Ethic.

That book had a profound effect of my attitude and behavior. I followed along the action processes and did the self analysis recommended. I thought about similarities in her life to my experience. 

Change in Work Ethic Means Change in Skills

As a result, I began doing the 750Words.com writing every day. I’m on a 52 day streak as I do this. This month I risked the

Elan Chalford, Blogger
Elan Chalford, Blogger

October Challenge of writing every day or have my name put on the Wall of Shame.

Another work ethic move was to drastically cut down on reading the news. Many days I don’t look at it at all. When I do it’s usually late in the eventing when I have completed the day’s tasks. And by news I mean the online alt-media news which is quite addictive. You keep getting fed the idea that you know something most other people don’t know. It’s tempting to have that ego.

And, finally, I notice I’m not snacking as much during the day. This was not even a conscious decision. I don’t know where it came from. I believe a higher power is sending some grace my way, but don’t ask me to prove it. And maybe it goes right along with my work ethic upgrade.

To sum up, Danny Iny writes, “To succeed in the Age of Acceleration we need soft skills, and intangible but critical things like work ethic and initiative.”

And I would add, intuition, if you have it. And these soft skills all added to the hard skills you need for online marketing.

The hard skills include installing a WordPress site. Making or handling simple graphics. Using software that relates to your business, an email service, for example. And using plug-ins with your web site as needed. None of these are hard to learn. And once you know them you can do them the same way each time. The repetition helps you learn, of course. Who said, “Repetition is the mother of skill?” I think it was Tony Robbins, a man who, for sure, has both hard and soft skills.

Elan signature hand drawn
Elan by hand


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