Soft Skills are the new Hard Skills

In my past 5 years of recruiting at Tesla and Mendix, two very disruptive high-tech organizations, I saw what highly motivated people could accomplish, how they moved the entire organization forward. And I realized once more that in order for organizations to innovate, grow and flourish, it is the people that make the difference. People who are eager to be part of something bigger than themselves, and who want to learn, want to cooperate and make an impact. soft skills are the new hard skills

Still so many organizations base their recruitment activities on past experience and delivered results. But why is it that people who have performed well in the past, not necessarily succeed in a new company or role? Or how can it be that someone without seemingly the right competences, proves to be very successful in a new job?

In today’s and tomorrow’s world organizations change fast, disruptive innovations and new business models arise, requiring flexibility and adaptability. And most certainly this is the case in Start-ups and Scale-ups. Here a different skillset becomes key in performing on high level. Knowledge comes from the past, so it is safe and probably out of date. Experience is built from solutions to old situations and problems that are probably different from the present ones. If old solutions will have to be bent to fit new problems, the old experience probably won’t help.

The most remarkable people become successful because of their mindset, their energy and desire to grow and succeed.

The most remarkable people become successful because of their mindset, their energy and desire to grow and succeed.

In these continuous changing environments, the most remarkable people become successful because of their mindset, their energy and desire to grow and succeed. They are not in the game to boost their ego’s or for a quick fix. They are able to cooperate, have a longer term vision and a strong motivation to reach challenging goals.

And this is how an archeologist became a successful sales leader in software, a caregiver became software tester and a project manager in construction who is now leading software development teams at Mendix.

If I look at the definition of soft skills, these skills seem quite hard to me. Hard skills one can learn, they are about repeatable precision. Soft, high-flexibility skills are about being agile and interactive, cooperative, about recognizing patterns as they unfold and making timely choices and responding in just the right way. The so-called soft skills are character based, with personality traits and growth mindset, and this takes a lot longer to develop. Meaning rather hard to change, but so valuable in todays world.

Soft Skills are the new Hard Skills

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