58: The Art of Dealing with Ambiguity

The world is changing faster and faster. What seemed clear yesterday may not be clear today and who knows what tomorrow will bring? Dealing with ambiguity is not just a soft skill but a necessity in today’s workplace. We will discuss dealing with ambiguity and even give some hints for how to handle it.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss the following topics:
* Life isn’t predictable and it can get boring
* How clock speed affects our ability to succeed
* Dealing with not knowing
* Decisions have consequences and making bad decisions can be costly.

A few hints for how we can ensure that we can deal with ambiguity.

1. Accept that ambiguity is real. Easy choices don’t always exist.
2. Keep a compass. Know what you are trying to accomplish and keep true to it.
3. Call in the reinforcements. Find people and other sources of information and support that are solid no matter what else is happening.
4. Heed the signs. When things appear to be faltering, recognize it and react.

That’s it for this episode of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast. Look for new episodes every Wednesday. And if you liked what you heard today or in another episode, then give us a great review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Share our podcast with someone you know. And by all means, go to TheSoftSkillsRevolution.com and join our revolution. We want to change the world’s view on soft skills and you can help us.

Next week

We will explore why we are leading The Soft Skills Revolution.

Natural curiosity or a willingness to learn is a powerful tool, building on the processes, software and techniques that you know are just the foundation for your success.

Among the topics cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss are:

  • How changes in the workplace necessitate the need to be willing to learn
  • How do you tease out a willingness to learn in an application
  • Employers want to see a willingness to learn
  • Curiosity is key
  • Hints for learning new things to promote your professional benefit

Next Week

We will look at another soft skill, dealing with ambiguity. New episodes every Wednesday.

Join The Soft Skills Revolution at SoftSkillsRevolution.com

Being unable to accept criticism can hurt our ability to advance in our careers, relationships and in life. We will discuss this complicated soft skill and give hints for delivering and responding to it better.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham talk about a number of important issues, including:

  • Why the soft skill of accepting criticism can be difficult to hear
  • How accepting criticism can benefit us and our development
  • What happens when we don’t accept criticism
  • Helping you versus hurting you with criticism
  • When to discount people’s criticism
  • Filtering out the good criticism and retaining ownership
  • Finding people to trust and value who give you constrictive feedback
  • How to give constructive criticism
  • When to table someone’s criticism
  • “The Sandwich Method” of criticism
  • When a cooling off period pays off for everyone   
  • Preventing criticism from paralyzing us
  • Why organizations need to integrate feedback and criticism into their operations to become better
  • Making a case for writing down suggestions, rather than speaking them

Next week

We will address another soft skill and its implications. New episodes come out every Wednesday

Have you joined The Soft Skills Revolution?

A Forbes.com article, How to Hire the Right People to Help Your Organization Success by Sally Percy, suggests that employers are undervaluing soft skills, which seems silly in this low-unemployment business climate. We will discuss the technical skills fixation and why it hurts employers in this episode of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast.

Among the topics cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss are:

  • Why focusing on technical skills is comfortable, but difficult to enable proper hiring.
  • Why combining technical skills and soft skills is the key to business success
  • How employers have become lazy when it comes to soft skills
  • Job qualifiers and job winners
  • Why employers need to get past the fishing expedition in using soft skills to hire
  • How hiring with a soft-skills focus helps create a better cultural fit

 Next week

We explore one of the more complicated soft skills: accepting criticism. New episodes every Wednesday.

 

In this episode we launch The Soft Skills Revolution. We discuss why it matters, what it means and how you can help.

Among the topics cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss are:

*Why the soft skills revolution must occur

*How a successful revolution would change the workplace.

Join the revolution at TheSoftSkillsRevolution.com.

Next week

Why hiring is all wrong and what soft skills could do to help it. New episodes every Wednesday.

Cobots, robots working collaborating with people to accomplish specific tasks like deep tissue massage, are a reality and they are going to change how we look at work. We will explore how soft skills will enable us to react effectively in this weeks’ episode.

Among the topics cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham talk about this week include”

  • How robots learn tasks
    How robots are learning new steps and the latest in robot technology
    Robots are becoming a bigger part of the job world
    How new technology is changing our soft skills
    Examples of when soft skills exceed the capabilities of a robot
    Why humans will always be needed

Next week

Another soft skill will land front and center in our discussion. See which one every Wednesday.

We celebrate our first anniversary of the podcast with a celebration, with lessons learned, and even some hints of what’s in the pipeline for the podcast and soft skills on this week’s Serious Soft Skills podcast.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss the following:

  • What they didn’t expect about podcasting
  • How they and the podcast has evolved over the year
  • Why the podcast is so topical
  • What the Soft Skills Revolution is
  • How soft skills fit in with technical skills
  • More soft skills in more ways

Next Week

We will be discussing the emergence of cobots and what they mean for soft skills. It’s cutting edge and you won’t want to miss it. New episodes come out every Wednesday.

 

Age, ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, political, social and lifestyle diversity is a reality in today’s workplace. In this episode of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast, we will discuss what being culturally aware means and how to avoid being culturally unaware.

Among the topics Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss in this episode:

  • Dealing with diversity in the workplace and how it affects performance, innovation and meeting customers’ needs
  • The example in computers and how they look differently for a 60 year old vs. a 20 year old
  • Why we need to try to see the world more broadly than only through our own eyes
  • How opportunities are lost when we go blindly or avoid situations
  • Awareness of where diversity issues arises is the first step
  • When we put people in a place of being an outsider and how it hurts us
  • Something as simple as food can raise issues or diffuse them
  • How Goleman’s work on emotional intelligence set the stage, but does not full cover cultural awareness
  • Individual and organizational responsibility for recognizing and leveraging people’s differences
  • How mentoring and one-on-one interactions, and even our peers, can help us become more adept
  • Finding similarities can overcome great challenges

Hints for Being More Culturally Aware

  1. Avoid doing anything that could marginalizing one or more individuals.
  2. Ensure your organization is setting a tone for inclusion
  3. Engage in self-reflection to become better (see Episode 14)

Next week

Serious Soft Skills will celebrate its first anniversary with a look at the last year, what’s coming up for us  in the new year and a celebration.

Mike Shelah, an expert and early advocate for LinkedIn’s ability to connect people for business, shares his wisdom on LinkedIn, networking and soft skills in this episode of the Serious Soft Skills podcast.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham are joined by Mike Shelah, head of Shelah Consulting (http://mikeshelah.com), for a discussion of the following:

How to use LinkedIn to make quality connections
What not to do on LinkedIn
How to gain permission to ask
Mike’s formula for using LinkedIn effectively
What soft skills come into play
Examples of good networking
Tips for being a better networker

Also, Mike talks about a side project, Pathfinders for Autism (http://pathfindersforautism.org), where he serves as a board member and helps families like his own who have children who have autism.

Next week

We look at cultural awareness and why its importance only grows in our current workplace. New episodes every Wednesday.

Our actions usually align with our ethics, and people with good ethics tend to be trusted and respected more than those whose ethical decision making is questionable. We are going to look at the ethical implications of decisions we make in this week’s episode of the Serious Soft Skills podcast.

Among the topics cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss are:

  • A definition of ethics and how it applies to work
    The value of virtue
    How questionable ethics can erode trust of team members
    Questioning cripples progress
    The societal effect on our ethics
    Are ethics black and white?
    The Golden Rule
    Short-term versus long-term benefits and how they relate to ethics
    The personal nature of ethics
    How our ethics set a tone for an organization

Tips for Good Ethics at Work
1. Don’t be deceived by short-term benefits
2. Matching your ethics to your organization’s ethics

A good book on ethical decision-making, The Power of Ethical Management by Ken Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale, with three guiding questions on ethics
1. Is it legal?
2. Is it balanced?
3. How will it make me feel about myself?  Unethical acts erode self-esteem.

Next week

We will talk to Mike Shelah, an expert at LinkedIn on how soft skills play into that social media platform, as well as networking in general. New episodes come out every Wednesday.