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 weeks’ 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.

Yes, it’s shameless self-promotion, but someone has to do it. And Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham finally celebrate the long-awaited release of the paperback version of The 55 Soft Skills That Guide Employee and Organizational Success and explain how reading it will help anyone who works.

 

Among the topics they discuss in this short episode are:

  • How they came up with all 55 soft skills
  • Their surprise at how many soft skills employees use
  • The logic of the book
  • Where employees and leaders can benefit from reading the book
  • How to get the book

Want to buy our book, The 55 Soft Skills That Guide Employee and Organizational Success? Visit Amazon.

Next week

We will go back to our list of 55 soft skills to explain how another one of them works and why it matters in the workplace.

We aren’t talking about writing the Great American Novel, but rather how to draw on the powerful aspects of storytelling to explain our work and our ideas so we connect emotionally with any audience.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham explore this important aspect of success, looking at it helps us at interviews, in meetings and when working with any other group. Storytelling can work in any situation where we talk about our work.

Among the topics they cover in this episode of the Serious Soft Skills podcast are:

  • Defining how storytelling fits into explaining ourselves
  • Making an idea “sticky”
  • How widely this approach can be used
  • The value of storytelling in a meeting as simple as a daily or weekly status meeting
  • The right preparation for storytelling to succeed
  • Understanding our audience’s needs
  • Why less is more in some cases and why more can be valuable at other times
  • Self-editing our stories to meet specific needs
  • Why writing the story out in advance or developing great themes and plot lines won’t work
  • Building the story from two or three key elements or takeaway you want the audience to learn from your story
  • Planting words to make things sticky
  • Sticky versus stinky
  • How to prepare for an interview to ensure you’re sticky
  • Making experiences become sticky through storytelling
  • Developing an emotional connection
  • Real examples of how storytelling can make us look better to employers and others
  • How anecdotes and stories about what you do in a job can help others understand the value you can bring to their organization
  • Going from a worker to a worker who did important work
  • Finding stories to explain how our skills can be transferrable

Organizations covet employees who are mature. But what is being mature and how to we identify it and look for it in people. Co-hosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham take on another of the complicated soft skills in this episode.

Among the topics they will address:

  • Immaturity versus maturity
  • Experience versus maturity
  • How application is at the core of being mature
  • Admitting our own faults with maturity
  • How we develop maturity
  • Choosing when to fight for something
  • Teasing out maturity in job searches
  • How maturity leads to better outcomes over time
  • Developing maturity through asking questions of mentors

Next week

We will be looking into how and when to escalate an issue, what it means and how to be good at it, and more importantly, why it as a soft skill is important to an organization’s success.

Being focused on the client, whoever that is — both internal and external to the organization — is a critical component of any successful business and a soft skill that we need to understand and incorporate into any business.

Co-hosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham explore client focus from two different perspectives — one looking at external customers and the other looking at internal customers.

Among the topics they address:

  • What threats come to from poor customer service
  • How customer service leads to strengthening relationships
  • How language plays into good customer service
  • Sour experiences foretelling of bad reputations
  • Failing to think through what matters to the customers, even if it conflicts with what employees want
  • Collaboration versus siloing as customer service problems
  • Setting shared objectives to deal with a strong client focus
  • Why companies should be looking more closely at external and internal clients
  • Exploring what clients truly need from the organization and how to deliver it
  • Why focus is a key

Next week

We will be exploring the soft skill of being mature, which isn’t about being experienced. They’ll figure it out — or at least attempt to next week on the Serious Soft Skills podcast.

Cohosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham will tackle the soft skill of complying with standards. Sounds boring, right? Well, they’re going to make it interesting. We promise.

Among the topics they will discuss this week are:

  • Why complying with standards is a soft skill
  • The difference between internal and external standards
  • Written and unwritten standards
  • How the subprime mortgage industry breaking key rules caused a financial collapse
  • When standards need to be challenged or questioned
  • How time can require the need to evaluate old standards
  • When to question standards
  • The expectations that organizations have about complying with standards
  • How organizational culture can help with complying with standards

Next week

We will be talking about an important soft skill that forms a foundation for lots of organizational success: client focus.

Co-hosts Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham talk about setting goals and prioritizing, which together make an important soft skills for managers, leaders and any employee.

Setting goals, as in organizing and prioritizing your work, is critical for team success. To make sure everyone is working toward the same overall goal, we need to assign tasks. Those tasks have to be completed on time or else others will be waiting.

Among the topics they address:

  • Examples of where setting goals and prioritizing are critical to achieving results.
  • How most of us have deadlines each day, week or month.
  • Why these goals have to be in sync
  • Tips for setting goals
  • Being SMART

We can set our own priorities in a day, evaluating what needs to be done, what others might need from us, what we need from others. The best employees are updating their priorities as situations change throughout the day. They don’t write a list in pen, but rather in pencil, with an eraser.

Good leaders and managers set realistic priorities and goals for their staff, ideally with their consent and buy-in. Rather than telling people what to do, they work with people to align personal and organizational goals to be the same. This shared vision can be powerful, especially when things go wrong. And they will.

No matter how much we prioritize, things go wrong. How we deal with it — by readjusting — can make or break us and our organizations.

More than four-in-five jobs come from connections, making networking a critical piece of any job search or path toward promotion. And at its core, any kind of networking calls on our soft skills.

Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss:

  • Why focusing on the perfect customer during networking can ruin any event
  • How every contact you make could be a vitally important one someday
  • How networking differs from speed dating
  • Building value through networking is the name of the game
  • Some examples of good and bad networking
  • How natural discussion can do more for networking than anything contrived.
  • Opening doors to discovery
  • The serendipity of networking
  • How you can’t make a customer from networking
  • The art of graceful exits from discussions and how to do it without seeming like a jerk
  • The do’s and don’ts of networking
  • Bob’s Three-Card Rule
  • Toby’s rules for giving out business cards
  • Methods to manage any followup
  • The Rule of Threes

Next week

We’ll explore the soft skill of enthusiasm and how it makes a major contribution to any business.

In Week 5 of our Six Weeks of Serious Soft Skills Strategy, we look at how to implement soft skills into the hiring process, which will provide valuable insights into the process for hiring managers and job applicants.

 

Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham, co-hosts of the Serious Soft Skills Podcast, cover the following topics:

  • Avoiding the trap of only looking at technical skills
  • Evaluating applicants’ functional skills along with soft skills
  • How applicants can articulate how they can blend soft skills with technical skills are the gold standard
  • How the best applicants can explain how they transfer technical information into actionable skills in the workplace
  • Why open-ended questions encourage good applicants to talk about their soft skills
  • How standard questions can help compare candidates and specific soft skills you are seeking
  • Gearing questions around soft skills
  • Why it might help to provide foundational questions in advance of an interview
  • Why checking of qualifications is not the best way to interview
  • Asking “how” questions
  • What are the best methods for evaluating technical skills outside of the interview
  • Proven tips for conducting a good interview for you and your interviewee

Next Week

In Week 6, our final week of our Six Weeks of Serious Soft Skills Strategy, we will dig deeper into how to integrate soft skills into the hiring process so employers can find better-fitting candidates who can help their organizations grow.

Soft skills can hold important role in getting noticed in a job search, especially when integrated into your cover letter and resume. We’ll discuss how to get that notice by beefing up your soft skills in these materials.

As employers and organizations look more at soft skills, applicants need to articulate their soft skills in the cover letter and even the resume. So in Week 3 of the Six Weeks of Serious Soft Skills Strategy, Dr. Tobin Porterfield and Bob Graham discuss a number of strategies for integrating soft skills into resumes and cover letters.

Don’t forget, you can still get your own copy of our ebook, The 55 Soft Skills that Guide Employee and Organizational Success, for free, using the coupon code “six weeks” at http://serioussoftskills.com/resources/the-55-soft-skills-that-guide-employee-and-organizational-success/

Among the topics they address in this episode are:

  • Why we approach cover letters all wrong
  • Helping employers include you, not exclude you, from the interview list
  • Why finding a passion match matters and where it goes in the cover letter
  • Putting you as a person in the process
  • How to connect the dot for the employer in your cover letter
  • An example with a manager’s cover letter
  • A great word to include in your cover letter
  • How repetition helps you score points with employers
  • How specificity in what you are looking for in a job helps not just you, but your circle of friends and family
  • Making sure your resume is quantified
  • Matching your soft skills to the job specifications and the unwritten components of the job
  • Blending the tools you use and they mention with your soft skills
  • Why being concise, using strong verbs and documenting outcomes helps employers
  • How storytelling fits in
  • Key tips for resumes that will make your resume zoom to the top of the pile

Next Week

We will be in Week 4 of the Six Weeks of Serious Soft Skills Strategy, where we look at how to put soft skills to work to help employers see your value in the interview process.