Non-Technical Competencies
Will Help You Earn
Career Success and Security

Whether we are an employee, independent consultant, or entrepreneur, technical competencies are necessary, but not sufficient, for personal success and fulfillment. This observation applies whether we serve in the private, public, academic, or volunteer sectors. Non-technical or “soft side” competencies enable us to work more effectively with supervisors, supervisees, colleagues, clients, customers, students, the public, other stakeholders, and members of our community, neighborhood, and family. Augmenting technical competencies with “soft-side” knowledge, skills, and attitudes is the key to earning career security, a much more viable life strategy than chasing job security.

Using my knowledge of and experience with non-technical knowledge and skills, I help individuals and organizations engineer their futures.

See the bottom of this page for over 60 of my essays, professional papers, and other documents.  These complimentary offerings touch on a wide variety of mostly non-technical (professional practice) topics and are arranged in 9 categories (e.g., Communication, Creativity and Innovation, Leadership and Change, Personal Development) for your convenience.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

-- Mark Twain, fiction writer and humorist


News

ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT INTERVIEW – Anthony Fasano, PE, who leads the Engineering Management Institute, recently interviewed me. The interview, titled “How to Become a More Creative and Innovative Engineer,” is available here. Anthony’s probing questions prompted an in-depth discussion of creativity and innovation, and some self-reflection on my part. In responding to Anthony’s queries, I drew heavily on my book Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers.


SOLUTION TO THREAT POSED BY ENGINEERING LICENSURE EXEMPTION LAWS – Machine Design, a comprehensive technical resource for mechanical and other engineers, recently posted on its website, my article “Getting Rid of Licensing-Exemption Law.” To read the article, go here.


QUALITY WEBINAR FOR THE TRANSPORTATION LEARNING NETWORK – I was pleased to be retained by the Transportation Learning Network to present the 90 minute webinar “Quality: What Is It and How Do We Achieve It?” on April 13. Chris Padilla of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University directs the learning network. It is a partnership of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming Departments of Transportation and the Mountain-Plains Consortium Universities. The webinar defined quality; described and illustrated the application of many tools designed to achieve quality and, in some cases, produce creative/innovative results; and explained how to create a new quality program or rejuvenate an existing program. If you have a need, I can work with you to tailor a similar program to your organization.


AN EXPERIMENTAL AND ENGAGING APPROACH TO WEBINARS Midwest Geosciences and I are experimenting with a new way to conduct “webinars.” Drawing on my book Engineering’s Public-Protection Predicament, we created the workshop “Engineering Codes and Licensure Exemption Laws: How to Resolve the Ethical Dilemma and Protect the Public.” We presented the 90-minute interactive event to largely engineers working for Minnesota on April 11 and 21. The approach was well received and enabled participants and presenters to “hit the ground running” at the start of the webinar. The new, more engaging approach will be used again.

Examples of participant engagement:

  • Received the book.
  • Completed and submitted, before the event, a reading-writing assignment.
  • Received a PDF copy of slides.
  • Participated in the live event including polls, comments about participant submittals, and Q&A.
  • Took an online examination.
  • Obtained a Record of Attendance form.
  • Received a CEU Certificate from Northern Illinois University, assuming homework completion, live event attendance, and passing the test.

UPCOMMING PRESENTATIONS AT STATE ENGINEERING SOCIETY CONFERENCES – I will speak about “Licensure-Exemption Laws: Three Supports and How to Weaken Them” at the annual conferences of the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers and the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers on, respectively, May 5 and June 10. I welcome opportunities to describe what I have learned about the public threat posed by these laws and how we can reduce or eliminate the exemptions and, therefore, enhance public safety.


ARCHIVED ETHICS WEBINAR – GATHER A GROUP – EACH PERSON CAN EARN 1.5 PDHs – My 90 minute (1.5 PDH) webinar “Ethical Behavior – The Key to Earning Trust” has been continuously improved and proven popular with participants in the American Society of Civil Engineers continuing education program. The learning outcomes are: 1) Explain how trust must be earned - it cannot be bought, 2) Describe the 4 legal-ethical quadrants, 3) Apply 6 techniques for resolving ethical issues, 4) Identify the principal common element among professional society ethics codes, and 5) Discuss lessons learned from 2 in-depth case studies.

The archived version may be examined for possible purchase, and widespread use in your organization, click here.


MANY ROAD-TESTED AND ARCHIVED PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE WEBINARS - Since 2002, I have presented 330 webinars as part of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) continuing education program. 20 of my archived leadership, management, marketing, communication, ethics, and other professional practice webinars are available for purchase at individual, group, ASCE member, and non-ASCE member rates. By taking and passing a post-test, users receive PDHs based on the webinar length. (Note: Any of the webinar topics can be presented in-house (face-to-face or Zoom) within your organization in which case we would tailor them to your challenging issues, problems, and opportunities. Contact me at stu-walesh@comcast.net or 219-242-1704 for more information. For examples of clients I have served and services provided, click here.)


Are You Looking For?

Looking for a gift for a recent college graduate who wants to have a successful career? Then consider one of these books: Engineering’s Public-Protection Predicament, Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers, Engineering Your Future, and Managing and Leading.

This Website Will Enable You To Improve Your "Soft Side" Competencies and Release The Leader Within You

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.


Thoughts For Supervisors, Managers, Executives,
Elected and Appointed Officials, and
Human Resources Personnel
To Help You With Your Mentoring and Coaching Efforts

You are responsible for the development of supervisees and others. You are also busy. Please consider two suggestions.

  1. 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.


  2. 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 stu-walesh@comcast.net.

Final Thought

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


Communication

Creativity and Innovation

Ethics

Exemplary Engineers

Leadership and Change

Marketing

Miscellaneous

Organizational Health

Personal Development


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Do you have a question, suggestion, idea, or other concern? If so, contact me at stu-walesh@comcast.net or 219-242-1704

Engineering’s Public-Protection Predicament
Engineering’s Public-Protection Predicament

Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers
Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers

Managing and Leading: 52 Lessons Learned for Engineers
Managing and Leading: 52 Lessons Learned for Engineers

Engineering Your Future
Engineering Your Future

Introduction to Creativity and Innovation for Engineers – Global Edition
Introduction to Creativity and
Innovation for Engineers -
Global Edition

Managing and Leading: 
44 Lessons Learned for Pharmacists
Managing and Leading:
44 Lessons Learned for
Pharmacists

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