Wednesday, 11 March 2015 17:46

Skills for Success by Suzanne Lucas (From

What skills do you really need to succeed? In school, they taught us history and algebra and if we got good SAT scores they said we'd succeed. But are those the skills we really need? Developmental psychologist Susan Engel researched the skills that actually predicted success. I'll give you a hint--differential calculus isn't on the list. Here are the 7 skills that are critical for success.

1. Reading.

Of course, you can read. If you couldn't you wouldn't be reading this. Engel defines reading as follows: "It means having the ability to read an essay or book and understand it well enough to use the information in some practical way or to talk about it with another person."

I'd like to ask a different question: Do you read? Do you apply what you've learned? Share it with others? People who read fiction, for instance, are more empathetic. That empathy can certainly help you be a better boss.

2. Inquiry.

If you're running a startup, you probably already have this skill down. After all, the purpose of every startup is to either solve a problem that exists or convince people that they have a problem so you can sell them the solution. But, the question is, do you allow your employees the same level of inquiry?

Are ideas encouraged? If they are, are they encouraged at all levels of your work force, or are they welcomed just from your senior team? The process of inquiry is the process that will lead your company to success. Keep asking those questions.

3. Flexible thinking and the use of evidence.

Sometimes we get focused on the solution we think is right, and we forget that there are many different angles for looking at each problem. When I taught political science courses, I'd have students write a persuasive essay on a controversial subject. Then, I'd have them write a second essay arguing the opposing viewpoint. There's a good chance you had a professor that required the same, but do you do this now?

Have you really looked at your decisions from all sides? Are you looking at evidence or are you rejecting anything that doesn't back up your predetermined conclusion? And when you find new evidence, you need to change your course of action.

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