Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills: Underestimating Complexity!
Soft skills are defined as such, in order to marginalize. The applied internal systems are vastly complex and difficult to define. This makes self-perceived experts extremely uncomfortable. “Soft” skills do not operate using an interval scale and are dissimilar to finance or physics. The central challenge in applying and understanding “soft” skills is the systems that are used to define their processes take sometimes decades to carry out. “This is simply bad for business; therefore, we need to simplify these factors.” This is a gut instinct reaction that takes place because human nature is driven by needs and needs instant gratification. The return on investment for the practicing individual that understands the complexity of “soft skills” might not be substantial immediately and the motivation to demystify “soft” skills by applying them correctly is not the most rewarding, initially.
Overtime, the returns outperform in all areas of business.
“Hard” skills are technically learned skills that possess a definite answer that is not suspect to theory or correlations. In reality, hard skills are easier to understand, implement and return immediate financial rewards. The miscalculation exists in not acknowledging the importance and impact of “soft” skills during the applied situations. Mishandling “soft” skills greatly reduces the effectiveness of programs and the created conflict works as a dismantling mechanism that begins within the core of the system. Thus, the foundation is unstable. Undiagnosed, these dilemmas lead to inevitable failures. 75% of mergers fail, 90% of leaders fail, most businesses fail within 5 years, and few fortune 500 companies from the 80s exist today. Why?
If “hard” skills were applied successfully then why did the system fail? We seek to find the simplest answer to gain control over our environment and accept the most comfortable reason. Unfortunately, the prescribed answers are not correct even in hindsight. The “soft” system is complex and taking the time to understand, apply & intertwine sound “soft” science with the technical “hard” skills is what separates the good from the great. Synergy & compounding effects take time and a solid foundation is needed for maximizing wealth.
In closing, we are misdiagnosing the necessary business assets that create the foundation for longevity and compounding business success. “Soft skills” need to be renamed as “essential” skills because without them, hard skills are terribly flawed. Hard skills are easier to comprehend because they can be easily measured. The non-tangible, the social, the unseen factors that are the core substance of the human race which makes up everything we know and ignoring these factors, mishandling them, keeping them unprotected is a financial crime that does not go unpunished.
Every choice has a cost – don’t let your choice cost more than you can afford.
Keith Lawrence Miller, M.A., PCC, BCC, CPRW
Elite Pro Coach | Ivy League Resumes
ICF Certified & Credentialed Coach (PCC) | Board Certified Coach (BCC)
M.A. Columbia University | Organizational Psychologist
(855) My-Pro-Coach | Skype (718) 717-2820
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