It’s one thing for you, as a Professional of Worth, to be diligent about developing your own soft skills portfolio. However, multi-disciplinary collaborative teams are one of the hallmarks of the IIoT ecosystem.
Therefore, the most effective IIoT teams develop every member’s soft skills portfolio.
Usually team members are so busy solving complex business, IT and technical problems, that soft skills are ignored. Or worse yet, assumed. Until outcomes fall short due to soft skills weaknesses.
Before beginning a new project with your team, and even if you are in the middle of a project, take a look at the following attributes of a strong soft skills portfolio.
My advice: adopt, adapt and apply them quickly and continuously. As a result, create valuable, team-based outcomes for your organization and your clients.
A strong soft skills portfolio is powerful.
What’s in a name? Continuing to refer to this valuable portfolio of skill sets as “soft” devalues their power. There’s nothing wimpy or weak about soft skills at all.
Three soft skills catalyze powerful outcomes in my IIoT team playbook. Communication, collaboration and critical thinking-based problem-solving are critical components impacting every project you work on.
How would you assess the current quality, consistency and strength of your own soft skills portfolio? What about your team’s collective soft skills portfolio?
Communication soft skills are powerful.
IIoT multi-disciplinary teams feature quite a cast of characters! First of all, team members are available on-sight and virtually, including not only internal employees but also external consultants. Then, IIoT team composition can connect the plant floor to the C-Suite. In addition, members also represent a variety of educational experience and socio-economic backgrounds.
Different professional disciplines utilize different terminology for communication. This scenario creates multiple barriers to cross-functional communication.
- First of all, not everyone seated around your team’s table understands this terminology.
- In addition, some individuals are intimidated, yet do not want to admit they cannot comprehend other team members.
- Also, communicating with decision makers involves a completely different vocabulary and mindset.
- Finally, some team members initially may not be used to assuming responsibility, communicating cross-functionally and making subsequent decisions.
Anticipate communication barriers. Develop a strong team soft skills portfolio by remaining vigilant to gaps in communication skills.
Always evaluate the best way for everyone to sincerely, expediently and clearly communicate to the entire team. Then carry your strategy throughout the enterprise.
Collaboration soft skills are powerful.
The IIoT tech advances offer many collaboration platforms for the enterprise. Yet even the best IIoT collaboration tools and platforms become less powerful when information is entered inconsistently or unintelligibly. That scenario sets the stage for incomplete data files, misinterpretation and miscommunication.
In addition, data is just information. Data does not communicate, it just records. The team brings the data to life.
The core of a powerful team-based soft skills portfolio is collaboration. Collaboration includes how team members work together, evaluate and act on implications from data-gathering and observations.
Collaboration tests the overall professional etiquette, adaptability and tolerance of team members. When certain team members always have to “be right,” team dynamics degenerate. If other team members have short tempers, team synergy degrades into a stalemate. Also, team shadowing can help overcome feelings of team member inadequacy.
Collaboration tests the team’s ability to join together and resolve conflicts in order to make the business case for a proposed solution. Evaluate how well current team members collaborate when resolving their own differences.
Ultimately, the best team outcomes are produced when team members create synergy. They put their collaboration skills to the test when persuading and negotiating implementation of new processes, protocols and solutions.
Critical thinking skills for problem-solving create a powerful soft skills portfolio.
Keep in mind that not everyone in an organization was hired because of their critical thinking and problem-solving skill sets. Some individuals prefer to be told what to do, nothing more. Consider their dilemma when they become essential (yes, essential) members of a multi-disciplinary, collaborative IIoT team.
Depending on where one sits around the table, everyone sees, hears and speaks about the same things, differently. Team members can complement, resist or go silent when asked to communicate and collaborate in a consistent and compatible manner. The difference this dynamic creates is in the quality and value of project outcomes.
Real breakthroughs in project outcomes are catalyzed by developing the ability to appreciate how other members think critically and approach problem-solving. Some members will become impatient, seeking instant answers. Other members will ponder various options with differing values and outcomes.
This scenario is where “Aha!” moments are born. Target continuous “Aha!” moments. Create valuable and enduring business, technical and engineering outcomes in the process.
Where does your own team stand in relation to creating a strong soft skills portfolio?
Develop a strong team soft skills portfolio grounded in team-based communication, collaboration and critical thinking skill sets.
To get started, download my newest IIoT team dynamics assessment tool.
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Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks, consults and coaches about collaborative value creation for customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between strategy and execution. She works across leadership, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
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