There are many skills required to be successful but if I had to choose the top 5 I would choose the ones listed below. My list keeps evolving as time goes by so the top 5 list as of today is:
Asking the right questions: Usually you have 30 minutes or an hour to make an impression at meetings with peers or management. It could also be the 5 minute elevator ride with someone you would like to impress so I list this skill in my top 5. It gives good insight into the person's understanding of a topic, his or her logical structure, perceptions and creative thinking. More importantly, asking the right questions is a valuable skill that helps us move in the right direction in solving many problems or defining the right strategy at our work. It can help us avoid many roadblocks just by foreseeing problems by asking the right questions and ultimately save us a lot of time by avoiding the wrong strategy.
Managing expectations: We all have limited time and limited resources to do the work we do. Thus, managing expectations is critical to ensure client satisfaction, exceed manager expectations and more importantly, manage one's expectations. Communication is just one part of the equation. Managing expectations while dealing with uncertainty is another. Finding a harmonious work-life or balance or managing family expectations is the final part of the equation.
Selling an idea: Selling an idea or convincing someone of your viewpoint is another very critical skill. It requires you to build a strong argument using many methods (triangulation and usage of metaphors are two examples) and present it in a convincing way. I have told you about expert and referent power to sell an idea but there are other forms of power that could also be used - legitimate, coercive, rewards and formal. You could read more about them here.
Storytelling : We all love a great story and many a time a simple concept is sold in the boardroom because the story was powerful. The underlying message was highlighted with a story that resonated with its audience. A bag of relevant stories that can be carried to the boardroom or to happy hour will help in sealing the deal.
Creating Value: We all have an overall goal such as increase number of visitors to the blog and there are many ways to get to the goal - SEO, Social Media, Content Strategy, etc. The individual steps create value and help achieve the larger goal. The tough part is identifying which methods truly create the best value in reaching the goal. If we had to focus our efforts on one or two which would they be? In the example here, it may be simple to answer but with complicated goals and limited information this is a challenge.
Dear Readers, please send me your top 5 skills for success. I would love to hear about them.