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Study Concludes: 85% of Business Success Attributed to “Soft Skills.”

Eric Flathers

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I agree with @AgainstAllOdds. Additionally, I find this too much or “over-thinking”. I would belief that table manners would be enough. Keeping yourself clean, don’t eat like a slob, close your mouth when eating, don’t talk with your mouth full, etc...

I would think that it’s too much to remember to face your forks at a certain clock hand when finished. Not that what she’s saying is wrong, but I just think people are overthinking it.
I was reading the WSJ this morning, among other interesting things going on right now, they had a video talking about business dining etiquette. In the video she mentioned this study. https://www.nationalsoftskills.org/the-soft-skills-disconnect/

It is obvious that taking steps to be a well rounded individual is paramount to business success. Dining etiquette being just one of the many things, like dressing the part and not looking like fool.

Obviously none of this matters if you have a business where you don’t interact with other humans. It certainly does apply to a leadership driven venture of carefully considered resources.

The little stuff matters.

Here is the dining video. DISCLAIMER! It is stupid: Eat, Drink and Impress With These Dining Etiquette Tips

However stupid the video, it got me thinking. What else do you think falls into this category of soft skills? What have you observed?
I agree with a lot of what people are saying. The part about the whole coffee stirring after adding sugar seems a little overboard. It seems this video goes more toward high-class (tight a$$) dinning then business dinning. Having good manners, in general, is more important than knowing what spoon to use.

Treat people with respect be it the person you are listening to or the waiter filling your glass. Be a good human being it's that simple. If you see someone struggling to carry something help them. If someone is coughing offer them one of your lozenges. If someone is on fire throw your water glass at them...
 

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MTEE1985

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Yeah, it's rare to be in the fine dining scenario. But if you DO find yourself there, you'll only have the etiquette at your disposal if you have prepared beforehand. It's not something you'll be able to frantically google on the spot.
100% agree. I’m a big proponent of knowing a little bit about a lot of things. Much easier to both engage people in conversation and be looked upon favorably regardless of what the situation may be.

Do you agree that there is a factor of unspoken etiquette polish that comes from being a regular golfer?
Without a doubt. I attribute golf to many of the communication skills I have developed and there is a clear reason that the majority of the country’s most successful people play and use the course as a second office.

Regardless of skill level there is integrity, character, honestly, consideration...really it all seems like common sense, in reality it just isn’t that common which is why articles like that one exist in the first place.

Oh, and networking. If one considers that a soft skill, I can’t think up a better way, place or activity to network than what golf provides.
 
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ChrisV

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There's a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying."

What else do you think falls into this category of soft skills? What have you observed?
This right here:

My old boss, who owned a chain of furniture stores, would fart at the restaurant table, smoke cigarettes at his desk, and blow his nose onto the floor. He was worth $35 million when he died, and I hope to be on his level someday.
I'm sorry but people who have never studied Science or Philosophy annoy me, and I could never take working with them seriously.


Someone talks a study about how smoking leads to lung cancer, and there's invariably someone who comes along saying "That's BS! My uncle lived to 92 and he smoked every day!" It literally makes me facepalm.

Like if you don't have a basic knowledge of how Science and Philosophy work, you just don't know how to think and I can never work with you.

Good video, but I wouldn't be able to make it past one dinner with that lady.

Also - who decided that you can't stir your coffee or tea after putting sugar in? Who decided that? Proper etiquette is going from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock and then having random bits of sugar in your drink? Call me a caveman, but I'll sit that rule out.
Ha. It's good etiquette to have random chunks of sugar at the bottom of your cup. I'll sit that rule out too.

This is pure BS... also she says at the beginning "job success", not business, real slowlane stuff. Concentrate on the way you pick up your knife and fork but ignore the fact that you're in a soul sucking job.

Probably the same person who decided that you should fold your napkin in half before putting it on your lap :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Good etiquette is the difference between being respectable and looking like a dirty peasant. Charisma goes a long way. Class goes a long way. @Kak took a break from golfing with senators to post this thread for you guys and you can't take it seriously.

Who did this survey, and how did they do it? I'm imagining questions such as this.

1. Would you hire somebody who folded their napkin the wrong way?

a.Yes.

b. Maybe.

c. I would rather employ Hitler.

2. You are out at dinner with an employee, they go to the bathroom, but don't pinch their napkin and leave it on the chair, indicating that they will be returning. Do you;

a. Say nothing, as who cares about a napkin?

b. Make a mental note not to give them the promotion you had earmarked them for?

c. Fire them on the spot?

3. You are having a business lunch with a potential hundred million dollar client, and after they finish their meal they leave their cutlery in a sloppy looking "X" on the plate, instead of a nice neat upside down "V". Do you;

a. Sit there silently fuming, because you've never been so insulted in your life?

b. Immediately tell them that you are no longer interested in their business?

c. Say nothing, whilst secretly imagining bludgeoning them to death for such a terrible faux pas?

I mean I could go on... :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
It literally says it right up top. "Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center." Yea... but I mean what does Harvard know about doing research. They're only the #2 research university in the world behind Oxford.

Kyle, I sometimes don't know why you bother. But I'm glad you do, so thanks for posting this.
 
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ChrisV

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And for those who are skeptical that soft skills can make all the difference, I post this thread a while ago:


So what soft skills? I think just being personable is major one. Just the ability to make people feel good in your presence makes people want to be around you. Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

Gallup found that the only factor that reliable predicts the outcome of presidential elections is a candidate’s likability.

A Columbia University study by Melinda Tamkins shows that success in the workplace is guaranteed not by what or whom you know but by your popularity. In her study, Tamkins found that, "popular workers were seen as trustworthy, motivated, serious, decisive and hardworking and were recommended for fast-track promotion and generous pay increases. Their less-liked colleagues were perceived as arrogant, conniving and manipulative. Pay rises and promotions were ruled out regardless of their academic background or professional qualifications."

The Gallup organization has conducted a personality factor poll prior to every presidential election since 1960. Only one of three factors - issues, party affiliation, and likeability, has been a consistent prognosticator of the final election result. Of course, the factor is likeability.

Doctors give more time to patients they like and less to those they don't. According to a 1984 University of California study, there were significant differences in treatment, depending on the characteristics of the patient: The combination of likeable and competent was significant. Patients perceived as likeable and competent would be encouraged significantly more often to telephone and to return more frequently for follow-up than would the patients who were either unlikable and competent or likeable and incompetent. The staff would educate the likeable patients significantly more often than they would the unlikable patients."

In a survey of twenty-five hospital doctors initiated by Roy Meadow, a pediatrician at St. James’s University Hospital in Leeds, England, researchers studied what happens when both likeable and unlikable parents bring in children. Considering what you’ve already learned about likeability, it’s not surprising that children with likeable parents received better health care and were more likely to receive follow-up appointments.
Full post: Likeability


Other studies find that the biggest factor that predicts if someone is going to be hired by an interviewer is not their credentials, but again their likability.


So which soft skills besides likability? Being trustworthy is another. People need to know you're going to do what you say you're going to do. Self-control is huge. Being able to not impulsively jump over the things you want and wait out for bigger rewards. Focus. In his book Titans, Tim Ferris states that basically every successful person engaged in some meditation practice. Having an internal Locus of Control. The realization that you have control over your life and not playing a victim. Networking. Make friends with the people you want to be like. Pick their brains. Learn from them. Don't surround yourself with losers. Generosity. Your income is directly correlated to how much value you've added to the world. (Besides a few sociopaths) your bank account is basically a measure of how much better you've made the world. Staying educated. Keep learning. Keep staying on top of your field. Not indulging too much in worldly pleasures. This one goes along with Self-control. Not to get all religious or anything, but if you have a vice for hooker, cocaine, getting drunk every night, eating junk-food, and a fetish porn addiction your life is going to be infinitely shitty in comparison to someone who's married to the love of their life, goes to the gym, eats well, and does the right thing. Look up the Seven Deadly Sins vs the Seven Heavenly Virtues. Speaking of which exercise has amazing effects on the brain. Exercise, eating right, meditation, a good social life are all worth their weight in diamonds.

Just work on being a good, well-rounded person and everything else falls into place. You can be the best ________ (insert skill here) in the world, but if you don't have the other things in place, it's not going to get you very far.

Steve Jobs... what were his hard skills? Was he a great programmer? Was he a great designer? He did none of those things. He hired people who did. Mark Zuckerburg is not the top programmer at Facebook. Bill Gates was ever the top programmer at Microsoft. Sure, hard skills matter.. but the ability to manage people is often much more important.
 

broswoodwork

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I'm sorry but people who have never studied Science or Philosophy annoy me, and I could never take working with them seriously.
I take a heuristic approach to prudence, because I don't have time to over-analyze a bunch of nonsense before making every move. I had a lot of fun reading Plato to Sartre (stopped about there), and everything in between, but eventually you have to just do something.

Additionally, I'm comfortable with not being taken seriously on an infotainment forum. I shook loose the need to be facebook famous 10 years back.
 

Dark Water

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I had an 85 year old professor in college who was a former Red Sox and Phillies player, something like a Lieutenant in the Marines at one point, and started his own golf brand which was a household name. The guy just kept on going despite not understanding computers or being hard of hearing. We did everything on paper even though it was 2014.

He went on a tangent one day and gave us a lecture on what it takes to be the best. He kept circling back to one characteristic of successful people.... grit. And he hammered that point over and over again. It's something I'll always remember and ended up being one of my biggest takeaways from college.
 

ChrisV

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In reality, you don't technically need any hard skills to be a success. You don't have to be smart when you can just pay smart people.

When you're operating at a high level, you don't need to be a good football player.. you just have to be a good coach.

"Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra." - (Not an actual Steve Jobs quote as far as i know, but from the movie.)

0:37

View: https://youtu.be/-9ZQVlgfEAc?t=37


I had to Google 'soft skills' to see what on earth you were talking about.

We called it character in England. Mostly taught at school.

Resilience (tricky Latin, Algebra, Sport) Don't give up!

Cultural Awareness (History, Music, Art, Religious Studies, Geography)

Teamwork - part of and leading (Sports)

Communication skills (English Language and especially English Literature)

Do your best (Sport and Exams)

And of course Manners as Manners Makyth Man (Really common courtesy and appropriateness)

Etiquette is more the little rituals a group has concocted over time.

If you are not of the group there is no need to pretend you are. 99% of decent people in any group will explain the Etiquette if they know you are new to it or see you are struggling.

Dan
They teach soft skills in UK schools? Jeez the US has a lot of catching up to do. Our schooling is like... 14 weeks of pythagoras theorem.
 

SamRussell

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In reality, you don't technically need any hard skills to be a success. You don't have to be smart when you can just pay smart people.

When you're operating at a high level, you don't need to be a good football player.. you just have to be a good coach.

"Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra." - (Not an actual Steve Jobs quote as far as i know, but from the movie.)

0:37

View: https://youtu.be/-9ZQVlgfEAc?t=37




They teach soft skills in UK schools? Jeez the US has a lot of catching up to do. Our schooling is like... 14 weeks of pythagoras theorem.
Sort of. UK schools are a bit like the world of internet gurus, unsuccessful people teaching children how to be succesful... with the added twist of doing so through a method that rewards complying with authority over an inquisitive mind.

Totally messed up. I'm convinced most schools would do better if they fired the teachers and effectively became an open library with a handful of support staff to help kids when they got stuck.
 

Champion

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I agree 100%. I think business people generally benefit from being well-rounded generalists, with an emphasis on soft skills like leadership, communication, etc.

In terms of specific nuances that can hamper people, two issues that I see a lot of are interrupting or finishing sentences in a conversation; also not listening to what a person is saying, just "waiting for their turn" to brag or pump themselves up.
Haha dam, thats like a large % of all people I would say (not listening to what a person is saying, just waiting for "their turn" to talk what they want to talk about)!
 

ChrisV

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Related: LinkedIn recently did an analysis to find out which Soft Skills were most in demand.

[...] we used exclusive LinkedIn data to determine the skills companies need most in 2019. These are the skills your boss and your boss’s boss find most valuable, but have a hard time finding – and the skills that’ll most help you better serve your clients and customers.

So consider this post your guide to the skills most worth learning in 2019.

The skills they found most valuable were:
  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Time Management
The article also lists the "Hard Skills" that are most in demand.

Also related:


The hard data show that "soft skills" are in high demand.
In a new LinkedIn analysis, "persuasion" was one of the top skills "most worth learning" in 2019. "Strengthening a soft skill is one of the best investments you can make in your career, as they never go out of style," according to the study.

 

LittleWolfie

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Obviously none of this matters if you have a business where you don’t interact with other humans

This is the kind of business I need.
 

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MoreValue

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My old boss, who owned a chain of furniture stores, would fart at the restaurant table, smoke cigarettes at his desk, and blow his nose onto the floor. He was worth $35 million when he died, and I hope to be on his level someday.
LOL, zero F*cks given.

Good thing my business requires zero human interaction.
 

spreng

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after my entry into the corporate world I can confirm this. Literally so little has to do with hard skills and competence... it is no wonder businesses are so inefficient.
 

LittleWolfie

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. Literally so little has to do with hard skills and competence... it is no wonder businesses are so inefficient.
I wonder if that is the unique selling point of the other 15%. We might be rude, but at least we are effficent and good at our job.
 

LittleWolfie

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No, this is the secret to success. It's the old 90/10 rule. This is why 90% of the money is made by 10% of the people.
Never heard that one,only the pareto principle,that is 80/20 and applies outside of money.

I'm more intrested in what the survey attributes the rest of the success too. It never says 85% of businesses are succesfull due to soft skills but 85% of succesfull business are due to soft skills, that implies 15% of business have success attributed to sonething else.

What?

I'm fine with <0.1% of the money.
 

MoreValue

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Ah that is similar to my conclusion. Trying to find some people to whom I can sell a product,slow going. Trouble even getting anything listed on ebay. Any good alternatives?
Not enough details, I don't know. Don't want to detract from the thread topic too much.

What about your employees -- if you have some? What about your manufacture? What about customer services? Maybe you don't deal with those issues. BUT, I would feel like deer in the headlights -- know I could easily be replaced by someone else...
I invest in automation/robots/machinery before investing in human resources. In house manufacturing. I do customer service, but I guess when I read soft skills I was thinking human to human interaction. If I do interact with people it is just online.

Don't know what you mean by your last sentence.
 

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WJK

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Never heard that one,only the pareto principle,that is 80/20 and applies outside of money.

I'm more intrested in what the survey attributes the rest of the success too. It never says 85% of businesses are succesfull due to soft skills but 85% of succesfull business are due to soft skills, that implies 15% of business have success attributed to sonething else.

What?

I'm fine with <0.1% of the money.
It's an off-shoot of the Pareto Principle. Think about it. Out of that 20% who ended up with most of the money, there are other levels... it duplicates itself. That 80% of the total pie is concentrated in 20% of that 20%... and so on. It's a classic funnel effect where most of the money ends up in just a few pockets. Think about Russia's Putin -- or the leaders of Iran -- or a CEO of a top corporation -- or the creators of one of our tech start-ups ... the money is wildly concentrated...
 

MTEE1985

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I wanted to add something as I was reminded of it today.

Chick-Fil-A is consistently ranked as the most polite fast food chain and customers specifically cite that the employees do 3 simple (or not so simple) things: they smile, they say please, and they say thank you.

Chick-Fil-A, only open 6 days a week, does more revenue per store than McDonalds, Subway and Starbucks combined.

This could all be a coincidence but I doubt it.
 

GPM

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@Roli
For the life of me I can not understand why you come into these threads and try to shit all over them. You put your negative attitude and shitty belief system in all of your posts located within this thread, as well as the Dress for Success thread. You also spew your crap in the Undercover Billionaire thread.

I think that if there were a prize given out on the forum for someone with the most negative attitude and crappiest belief system, you would be top dog and would be walking away with honors. I honestly do not understand it.

If your business involves sitting in your mom's basement on her computer, then all the power to you. Surely you must realize how much of the rest of the business that takes place in the world is done in face to face meetings and such. Even if you hate interacting with human beings, how can you even possibly believe half of the garbage that you write? Is it ever a bad thing to be cultured, mannered, and well dressed? Now imagine those three things at a business meeting around a lunch table while discussing the potential for a 7 figure deal with a company. Your options are to either show up and impress and be impeccable, be mediocre and not outstanding in any way, or just be a total slob and a douche. Who do you think they want to do the business with? There are zero situations where being the worst dressed and worst mannered person at a table or in a room will benefit you in a business situation.
 

Roli

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For the life of me I can not understand why you come into these threads and try to shit all over them. You put your negative attitude and shitty belief system in all of your posts located within this thread, as well as the Dress for Success thread. You also spew your crap in the Undercover Billionaire thread.

I think that if there were a prize given out on the forum for someone with the most negative attitude and crappiest belief system, you would be top dog and would be walking away with honors. I honestly do not understand it.

If your business involves sitting in your mom's basement on her computer, then all the power to you. Surely you must realize how much of the rest of the business that takes place in the world is done in face to face meetings and such. Even if you hate interacting with human beings, how can you even possibly believe half of the garbage that you write? Is it ever a bad thing to be cultured, mannered, and well dressed? Now imagine those three things at a business meeting around a lunch table while discussing the potential for a 7 figure deal with a company. Your options are to either show up and impress and be impeccable, be mediocre and not outstanding in any way, or just be a total slob and a douche. Who do you think they want to do the business with? There are zero situations where being the worst dressed and worst mannered person at a table or in a room will benefit you in a business situation.
In this thread I was using something called humour. You should look it up some time.

Plus read my latest post in the Billionaire thread where I admit to being wrong.
 

Roli

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@Roli
For the life of me I can not understand why you come into these threads and try to shit all over them. You put your negative attitude and shitty belief system in all of your posts located within this thread, as well as the Dress for Success thread. You also spew your crap in the Undercover Billionaire thread.

I think that if there were a prize given out on the forum for someone with the most negative attitude and crappiest belief system, you would be top dog and would be walking away with honors. I honestly do not understand it.

If your business involves sitting in your mom's basement on her computer, then all the power to you. Surely you must realize how much of the rest of the business that takes place in the world is done in face to face meetings and such. Even if you hate interacting with human beings, how can you even possibly believe half of the garbage that you write? Is it ever a bad thing to be cultured, mannered, and well dressed? Now imagine those three things at a business meeting around a lunch table while discussing the potential for a 7 figure deal with a company. Your options are to either show up and impress and be impeccable, be mediocre and not outstanding in any way, or just be a total slob and a douche. Who do you think they want to do the business with? There are zero situations where being the worst dressed and worst mannered person at a table or in a room will benefit you in a business situation.
... and you know what? This is total BS, you are calling me negative based on 2 frickin posts.

Read my posts whereby I've encouraged people who have felt down and depressed about various issues.

Read my posts whereby I've encouraged people not to give up.

Read my posts whereby I've documented my own struggles and used them to lift people up.

With this post you demonstrate what is wrong with the youth of today, you make snap judgements using tiny bits of information. Get into taking a HUGE step back and looking at the whole damn picture.

Something that, in my 47 years, I have learned to do.

Peace out.
 

GPM

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Well that is how a lot of conmen operate, by looking like the well dressed,mannered and cultured person they are able to rip off lots of people.
Not to the same scale, but a lot of beggars do the same.

Youtube is littered with videos of beggars being caught out at their con. Some pretend to be wheelchair bound or missing limbs, only later to be discovered to be fully able and bodied.

Unfortunately being human means being in the presence of those who wish to take advantage of us, at whatever cost. Don't let them. Be a shining beacon to make things better. We can either make the world a better place, leave it as it is, or make it a worse place. We all decide which category to be in, and I know which one I want to be in, and where I want my family and friends to be in as well.
 
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Kak

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Well that is how a lot of conmen operate, by looking like the well dressed,mannered and cultured person they are able to rip off lots of people.
This is a triumphant level of ridiculousness. Wow.
 
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G-Man

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What's interesting about topics like this is how much it brings out the rationalization machine.

It's true you can succeed without good soft skills, especially if you are particularly brilliant at an in-demand hard skill.

But it's epic level missing the forest for the trees.

Developing soft skills, especially in persuasion and communication, are pure upside regardless of what profession you're in. I used to have very poor social skills (some would say I'm occasionally still quite surly), and used to use all kinds of rationalizations for not learning how to communicate with and persuade others. I resented people for having important skills that I didn't have. But that's not what I told myself. Here's what I told myself:
  • These people are secretly dumber than me, so they developed social skills as compensation.
  • Soft skills are used by all manner of sleazeballs and conmen to cover up for the fact that they don't bring anything to the table.
  • Technology is moving the world to a place where old school golf course persuasion is vestigial.
All of these things were rationalizations that allowed me to not only avoid recognizing a fundamental weakness, but to delude myself into thinking that weakness was somehow a strength or source of superiority to others.

Why? Because the thought of embarrassing myself trying to sell, etc scared me shitless, and the ability of the human ego to protect itself through rationalization is virtually boundless.

Not saying that could in any way apply to anyone else here. Just me.:smuggy:

PS. Literally every aspect of life is improved when you develop the ability to persuade people, to understand what makes them tick and what makes them happy. When you learn how to thresh out what their needs are. Don't shortchange yourself, folks.
 

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