Whether you are an employee, independent consultant, or entrepreneur, technical competencies are necessary, but not sufficient, for personal success and fulfillment. This observation applies whether you are in the private, public, academic, or volunteer sectors. Non-technical or “soft side” competencies enable you to work more effectively with supervisors, supervisees, colleagues, clients, customers, students, the public, other stakeholders, and members of your community, neighborhood, and family. Augmenting technical competencies with “soft-side” knowledge, skills, and attitudes is the key to earning career security which is a much more viable life strategy than chasing job security.
It is not very important whether engineering is called a craft, a profession, or an art;
under any name this study of manís needs and Godís gifts that they may be brought together
is broad enough for a lifetime.
- Hardy Cross, engineering professor
AUGUST PRESENTATIONS – In early August, I made somewhat similar working smarter (how to be more effective, creative, innovative) presentations to two very different groups. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The two audiences enthusiastically responded to my assertion that knowing more about their brains enables them to work and live better. The presentations:
- “You, Your Brain, and the Rest of Your Life” presented at the Indiana Fraternal Alliance Annual Meeting, Michigan City, IN, August 5, 2016.
- “Using Neuroscience to Work Smarter: More Effective, Creative, Innovative,” presented at the Third U.S. – Japan Geoenvironmental Engineering Workshop, Chicago, IL, August 13-14, 2016.
- “Art as Part of an Engineer’s Education?”, Reunion Conference on Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, June 24.
- “Possible Influences of the NSPE EBOK and the AAES Engineering Competency Model on the CEBOK3” and “Neuroscience 101: Might Your Teaching and Their Learning Benefit?”, ASEE Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, June 27
GLEN L. MARTIN PRACTITIONER SERVICE AWARD – While attending and presenting at the ASEE Annual Conference, I thankfully and humbly received this award from the Civil Engineering Division of the American Society for Engineering Education. This honor is “awarded to an engineering practitioner for distinguished service to or support of civil engineering education.”
So called nontechnical, “soft side” competencies are often devalued or diminished. They are said to be of little importance or easy. “Soft side” competencies are neither.
Too many professionals fail to advance in their careers – to acquire career security – because they lack “soft side” knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Sometimes they do not realize their liability. We need to know something is “broken” if we are to “fix” it. In other cases, individuals know they have “soft side” deficiencies but fail to see the value in taking corrective action. Either way, the result is the same – failure to realize individual potential, to find and release the leader within.
If you recognize the value of “soft side” competencies you also know that they are not necessarily easy to acquire. Mastering nontechnical competencies requires knowledge of best practices and then thoughtful application of them. This website provides resources to help you practice improved stewardship with your gifts and your personality profile and make better use of who you are and what and who you know.
You are responsible for the development of supervisees and others. You are also busy. Please consider two suggestions.
- If study of specific nontechnical or “soft-side” topics is likely to be of value to certain supervisees and others, refer them to this website or specific portions of it, such as the Managing and Leading Books.
- Some “soft side” needs or deficiencies may go beyond individuals, that is, many individuals at one or more locations need help. For example, individuals may be working extra hard but not achieving as much as you and they would like. In this case, perhaps an on-site, face-to-face seminar or workshop about time management, effectiveness and efficiency, goal setting, and/or team essentials would be appropriate. Another option, and often a very cost-effective approach for simultaneous delivery to two or more locations, is a webinar, that is, use of the internet and a telephone conference call for which no one needs to travel anywhere. If the group mode of education and training interests you, for examples, please refer to the web page Tailored Education and Training. If you would like to discuss the feasibility of tailoring a seminar, webinar, or workshop to your organization’s needs, please call me at 219-242-1704 or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We seem to be under ever-increasing pressure to increase productivity, to accomplish more with what we have and, sometimes, to do more with less. At a deeper level, many of us aspire to be even better stewards of our time and talents. At the very deepest level, we yearn for more than personal success; we seek significance in what we do. We want to get beyond ourselves, positively affect others, and make a difference. This requires managing and leading ability.
You can improve your managing and leading knowledge, skills, and attitudes – your “soft side” competencies—so that you can remain employable, earn career security, and enjoy success and significance.
Stuart G. Walesh
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Articles & Reports:
Report Review: A Compliance And Ethics Program On A-Dollar-A-Day
Innovation Workshop Communication: Writing and Speaking to Make Things Happen
Book Review: The Power of Place
Comparison Of The Essentials Of Strategic Planning And Basic Operations
Book Review: The Dumbest Generation
Thoughts for the Recent, Unemployed Graduate
Prop Up Your Presentations
7 Steps to Getting a Solid ROI from Your Internal Education and Training Events
The Leader Within You: Let It Come Out!
Boats Offer Lessons For Us and Our Organizations
Art for Engineers: Encouraging More Right Mode Thinking
Is Your Organization Healthy?
Thoughts for the Not Yet Employed or the Recently Unemployed Engineer
Price Based Selection: Three Costs to the Consultant
Five Suggestions for Engineering Students and Young Practitioners
Avoiding But-Phobia: Get in on the Other Side of But
Creativity: Killing Or Cultivating
The Language of Marketing: A Glossary
Do You Make Mistakes? Great
I Don't Care How Much You Know Until I Know How Much You Care
A Half Brain is Good: A Whole Brain Much Better
The BOK and Leadership Lessons Learned
Licensure: A Step Toward Career Security
Taking Multi-tasking To Task
Working and Living Smarter Presentations/Workshops and Publications
University Adoptions of Engineering Your Future
The Chimney Sweep and the Sewer Cleaner
Broken Window Theory
Tune-Up Your Five Communication Channels
A Whole-Brain Approach to Increased Individual and Organizational Effectiveness for Engineers
Marketing: Back to Basics
Write to Find Out What We Are Thinking and to Learn
Ethics Advice from a Utility Manager
Proposed Workshop - Working Smarter: Using Brain Basics to Enhance Individual and Organizational Performance
20 Questions for Change Leaders
Resistance to Change
Create, Use, and Continuously Improve Written Guidance
Why the Push-Back on Creativity and Innovation?
Using the Power of Habits to Work Smarter
A Way to Look at the Organization in Which You Want to Effect Change
Takes a Family
20 Methods to Stimulate Creative/Innovative Thinking
Working Smarter: More Effective, Efficient, and Innovativea,b
Neuroscience 101: Might Your Teaching and Their Learning Benefit?
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