In today’s complex work environment, certain jobs require very specific skills. Marketers need to know their Diggs from their Tweets, rocket scientists need to know rocket science and IT support staff have to be comfortable handling dumb questions from confused people.
In all seriousness, many important job skills are usually acquired through specialized training or on-the-job experience, such as how medical students gradually become brain surgeons.
But other skills could be considered equally essential, no matter what your specialty is.
Computer literacy comes readily to mind, although I’m inclined to take a broader view and list things like people skills, communication and time management – what I call “big picture skills.”
An interesting thing about these abilities is that no matter how important we say they are, and no matter how frequently they’re mentioned in job advertisements, they’re not always taught in a formal way.
I find it ironic that I spent years, I mean months, of my life in a business graduate school accounting class, dutifully pursuing a level of training that I don’t think any of us planned to use, but yet didn’t get similarly disciplined instruction in something like time management, which everyone has to use every day.
Have you ever taken a seminar, read a business book or otherwise pursued training on your own to buff up your own “big picture skills?” Have you provided it for your staff?
Because of the spotty introduction most of us have had to such important topics, this kind of study is frequently necessary.
Look for a coherent and comprehensive approach, and avoid those with outlandish claims or who want to be gurus. Make sure your program has good references and you’ll be on your way to improving job performance all around.
Take “sales training”, for example. Yes, that’s right, “sales training” can make you a more effective worker even if you have no intention of touching a sample case. That’s because, as they say, success in business comes from what you negotiate, and negotiation is nothing if not selling.
David Ogilvy, the famous advertising executive, put it more succinctly when he said, “In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman.”
This means whether you’re leading a team, making a presentation, kicking off a new initiative or working on your organization’s budget, you’re selling.
And, obviously, when you’re looking for work, or working on your career, you’re selling.
Why put yourself at a disadvantage in this über-competitive environment? Get yourself some “sales training” and you’ll gain an edge with big-picture skills.
Whether you study presentation training, field sales or even telephone sales you’ll learn valuable practices you can and will use in a variety of situations, such as identifying key decision-makers, controlling a meeting while listening effectively and moving beyond objections and rejections.
This post was sponsored by Positive Approach, a company with over 25 years experience in offering custom-designed training courses to a diverse client base.