Though you likely haven’t thought about those New Year’s resolutions in a while, 2019 is nearly half-way over. With another lap around the sun charging fiercely ahead, it’s a good time to do a gut check on how you’re doing. What were those goals you set for yourself? Or more specifically: your career?
Even if you haven’t been promoted or quit your not-so-great gig (yet) — there are ways you can evolve as a professional by investing in your skill set. This forever-evolving aspect your productivity and purpose in the office includes both technical and interpersonal proficiencies, and is something to revisit at least once a year.
As career expert Wendi Weiner explains, “These can be a mix of soft and hard skills that lead into one’s personality as well as core skills that a professional learns on the job such as business development, sales execution, or relationship management. Career skills are industry specific but also broad in nature as skills are often transferable from one role or one industry to the next.”
As the calendar pages continue to turn, here, leading career experts provide their best recommendations for the most valuable career skills to invest in for 2019.
1. Versatility and Integrity
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If there’s one certainty you can depend on, no matter what date it is, it’s change. As millennials make up more and more of the workforce, they’re challenging traditional norms and paving the way for a new definition of upward mobility.
That’s why Weiner says, more than anything, companies are looking for employees who are versatile and can roll with the punches, so to speak.
“Companies are always evolving due to a changing economy. This is extremely important for technology-based companies or startups,” she explains.
With this dynamic workforce, more and more are working remotely — whether from a WeWork or a beach in Thailand somewhere — which puts a new onus on self-motivation. Because of this, Weiner says versatility must come with an aptitude for teamwork and integrity.
“There is a need for employees to be collaborative and have a strong sense of integrity when it comes to working afar and being honest about the work being done,” she adds.
Say what you want about the trite advice about the immense importance of building your relationships, but they’re on point.
As career expert for Monster.com Vicki Salemi explains, this soft skill impacts every aspect of your career and your ability progress. Consider how you interact with your boss, your colleagues, your employees, your clients and even virtual assistants, if they’re part of your gig.
Salemi challenges professionals to consider how well they not only nurture and build, but repair in-office dynamics. No matter if you want to move up in your current company or switch to a new one, how you create and foster relationships with others will make or break you.
After all, it’s simple: people want to work with — and hire — those they like.
Chief brand and engagement officer at EHE Health, Joy Altimare reminds professionals that creativity is part of everyone’s job description — not just writers, producers, and art directors.
As she puts it, this soft skill is rooted in your ability to think through multiple lenses when creating, building, and innovating.
“It is an inspiring concept that requires one to look beyond the fundamentals of one’s job. Don’t just think about the utility of your job, think about the contribution you’re making to the team and your organization,” she adds.
4. Running effective meetings
Lately, there’s been plenty of talk on the importance of meetings: how many are necessary to meeting goals and client expectations — and how many waste everyone’s already-limited time.
Especially for those at a manager level, exercising your best judgment rather than accepting every invite — and encouraging your employees to do the same — is a special skill for 2019, according to career expert Elizabeth Whittaker-Walker. More to the point, you should be rethinking how you approach and strategize for the meetings you do need to have.
“When meetings are absolutely necessary, it’s critical to know how long to spend on each agenda item, which things to bring up at what time, and how to effectively budget time to align on next steps, and so on,” she continues. “Part of planning an effective agenda is being clear about the goal and desired outcome, which helps you to know if a meeting even needs to happen. Could the matter get resolved via e-mail, a quick phone call or even a text message, instead?”
5. Tech Aptitude
No matter where you live or what you do, the likelihood that you’ll use a computer is pretty much a guarantee. With few exceptions, every level — from entry to executive — is expected to know their around a digital landscape.
“Employees need to have the additional training and aptitude for workforce productivity and success. This means understanding data privacy, tech, and digital marketing,” Weiner continues. “Companies are interfacing with clients online and virtually, so the ability to build strong relationships through relationship management in a virtual network is also a key skill.”
Ballpark: how many emails did you send and receive today? What about meeting invites? Phone calls? Have you thought about those notes you took a day ago — or typed ‘em up yet?
Most professionals feel pulled in many different directions with deliverables here and follow-ups there. Your ability to stay on top of — and better yet, ahead — of the many demands of your gig will set you apart, according to Salemi.
“It’s important to be able to prioritize work efficiently, and part of that means sorting through an influx of information,” she continues. “Productivity and time management also fall in this bucket — to succeed in 2019, know what to focus on and accomplish, especially as deadlines approach.”
Top business skills to learn from poker
Poker is incredibly popular across the globe, with (according to World Poker Tour) more than 100 million online poker players. There are many millions more that play in land-based casinos, and the same number again that play it informally with friends and family.
Poker has been popular for centuries, as it is easy to learn, yet difficult to master. There are different variations of the game, and it has expanded to include tournaments, casual games, and high rollers tables, providing something for everyone. 888 Poker provides a vast range of options for players of all abilities and budgets.
Playing poker requires a number of skills, many of which can be beneficial in other areas of life, in particular business and entrepreneurship. Players must be self-aware, mentally strong, and resilient, entrepreneurs must be able to analyze incomplete information, read others, and take on new information quickly.
- Ability to learn quickly
When learning the game, players need to take on a great deal of information very quickly. They need to do some basic research on the rules, the different winning hands, and the probability of getting these hands. They also need to practice, practice, practice before heading out into the real world, and will often practice the game with friends, all striving to improve their own game.
In business, it is important to be able to take on new information and adapt to new situations. As in poker, to be successful in business individuals need to be adaptable and knowledgeable.
- Decision making
As well as being able to take on new (and changing) information, poker players need to be able to make decisions. Be it raising, calling, or folding, knowing what the appropriate action to take and when to take it is key to success at the table. In business, it is not dissimilar: knowing when to move forward, when to challenge, when to invest, and when to quit, are very important skills for any entrepreneur.
- Extrapolating from incomplete data
In poker, players will know what cards they hold and the communal cards but won’t know what their opponents are holding. They will be able to make deductions based on the information in front of them, and the behaviour of their opponents. Players won’t be able to have 100% of the information to be able to make their decisions and have to hope that their powers of deduction will lead to success.
In the world of business, if individuals waited until they had all the information it would be too late to take actions. They will need to get as much information as possible from different sources and make a decision balancing the level or risk. Resume provides a guide on crucial decision making for career development.
- Money management
When playing poker players shouldn’t gamble more than they can afford to lose; they should stick within their limits and play wisely to build up their pot of winnings. In business, it is similar. Entrepreneurs should ensure that their money is managed and invested appropriately. The higher the pay out, the higher the risk, and whilst sometimes in business it pays off to be risky, there needs to be a balance to ensure the business will survive. Fiscal mismanagement is one of the biggest reasons that new businesses fail.
- Mental acuity
When playing poker, players have to not only look at their cards and the communal cards, but identify how their opponents are playing, checking to see if they have any tells. It is vital to analyze the chances of winning, considering a number of different variables. Entrepreneurs have to analyze market conditions, their competitors, and be able to collect and interpret data accordingly.
Alongside mental acuity is mental strength: in poker, players can have periods where they win every hand, or lose every and, and it is important to know when to stop and when to change approach. In business, entrepreneurs need to know how to manage the ups and downs that inevitably come with being in business.
The top poker players are driven by a love of the game, not money. By being passionate about poker they learn the ins and outs of the game, learn about the psychology behind it, learn the tricks of the trade and invest in bettering themselves every step of the way. Money is a secondary consideration; apart from some of the top players in the world, there are easier and more dependable ways to make money.
Entrepreneurs should always be aware of the financial potential of their endeavours, but the success of the business will depend on the passion and dedication of its people. Yopreneur explains how entrepreneurs should be passionate and focus on doing what they love. Entrepreneurs should start out wanting to create something and enjoy the journey.
- Learning to fail
Even the most talented and experience poker players can fail. They can make a silly mistake that costs them the game, be trumped by a better player, or simply run out of luck. All players will lose some of the time; winning more than losing is a definite perk, but by no means guaranteed, especially when a player is starting out.
Estimates indicate that over 85% of start-ups fail, and it is important for entrepreneurs to remain resilient, pick themselves back up, and get back on the horse. They can learn from their mistakes and do better the next time.
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