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Soft Skills Get Harder . . .

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/26/2017 | 12:09 PM

A recent article in Material Handling & Logstics suggests, wrongly, I believe, that a job interview can be snagged thanks to supply chain experience, but that soft skills will actually get the job.

I'll posit, in the contrary, that soft skills are in such demand that hard experience won't even get your calls returned, let alone result in an interview.  Further, the so-called "soft" skills are simply manifestations of a current generation of job-seekers and the preferences of enlightened employers.

Two senior resources from the StratOps Group list several of these skills, perhaps not in the priority sequence I'd pick, but listed nonetheless.  They begin with strong communications skills, including empathy and tools that are useful in a wide range of applications.  Next, I'd pick the ability to think critically - and I'd augment this skill with a deep understanding of what defines, operationally, how enterprises perform.  To that, I'd add, as a must-have, sensitivity to and respect for a corporate vision and culture.

Then, there are the more or less obvious qualities: a knock-out punch work ethic; the ability to master time management;  a never-ending commitment to process improvement, whether kaizen or lean or Six Sigma, or whatever; and sensitivity for how forms of organization are appropriate for varying applications and missions.

Add to this leadership mulligatawny a dedication to team efforts in problem-solving and creative development; creating an environment that permits - or encourages - self-motivation; and familiarity with a variety of responsible social media outlets.

There's more - more topics, and more detail.  But, these'll get you started, and keep you out of the traps of not quite getting what soft skills are really all about.

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About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.



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