It turns out the soft skills are actually among the hardest to master.
In our 30 years of working with leaders and organisations around the world, we have yet to hear anyone say, ‘Yeah, our people are great, it’s the infrastructure and processes that give us all the trouble.’
In fact, it wouldn’t be stretching the truth too far to suggest that most of the problems we face in life, both professionally and personally (and throughout history), usually find their origins in a breakdown in communication and of understanding between people (be it person to person, or collective to collective). However, even though teams and networks have this potential risk built into them by their natures, an ability to build teams and grow ‘tribes’, to borrow a term from Seth Godin, also offers incredible upsides and will continue to do so.
To illustrate this point, consider Gallup’s Global Workforce Engagement Research. Every year, Gallup conducts a study to measure engagement in the workforce and, to be honest, the results are usually a little depressing. The most recent survey, published in 2018, pretty much reflects the results gathered in the previous years. Workforce disengagement sits where it has for a number of years, at around 50 per cent, with active disengagement (those who are actually white-anting the work of the rest of the organisation) making up an additional 20 per cent.
So, it turns out approximately 70 per cent either don’t like the work they fill their time with, ...