Business requires a certain set of skills for it to succeed. However, it is no different from life when it comes to applying knowledge to practical situations. Applying life skills to business doesn’t require you to invest any additional time or effort. If you get them right in life, most likely you will do the same in your business as well.
I am not a philosopher, and I really do not intend to discuss how you can use life skills to attain spiritual heights 🙂
This article is written with an intention to help you apply these skills effectively to make a difference to your business and professional life.
1. Ability to judge
All of us have tried to judge the behavior of people around us, not just once but multiple times. And sometimes we decide our style of behavior based on that judgement. We tend to be rude to people who act the same way to us. Similarly, we act soft to those who are polite, friendly and approachable. This ability to judge is also observed in taking decisions around career, education, relationship etc.
But have you ever thought you could extend this to your professional life as well? You probably are doing it already, maybe unknowingly.
You definitely need to make use of this when you deal with your customers. It helps you understand their requirements, choices and preferences better. Also, it will help you to frame your key points of differentiation more effectively.
You can also apply this skill to hire the right people for your team or organization. Use your experience from both personal and professional life to pick those who would fit professionally, personally and culturally to your organization.
Another key application lies in the area of investment and innovation. Nobody can accurately predict whether you are investing in the right area. But at the same time, you need to use your judgement to analyze and conclude whether it makes sense to implement innovation in a particular area.
2. Being credible and authentic
There is nothing better than credibility and authenticity that will make people listen to you. And people will approach you for advice and solace on various personal issues. They trust your tips and suggestions.
Similar are the benefits of you – as an individual or business – establishing credibility and authenticity in your professional life. Be it your customers or employees, for others to value your business insights and inputs, you should have made your mark in the industry with knowledge, leadership, strategic visions, business planning & execution etc.
Now how can you leverage this to improve your business outcomes? Following are a few ways in which you can do this:
- Use your credibility to convince your customers to buy your products or services by highlighting your credentials and achievements. You can also use it to create new leads and opportunities.
- It can help attract investments from angel investors or PE firms.
- Bring order and consistency across your business units or teams, especially when there is a conflict of interest between units.
- Manage vendors and suppliers effectively by showcasing your company’s brand and the credibility you possess.
It will take time for you to become a popular name in your industry. Apart from your business leadership, you can try mentorship, involvement in renowned governmental entities like World Bank or The World Economic Forum, authoring books & articles etc. to prove your authenticity.
3. Finding creative solutions to problems
Here I am referring to creativity pertaining to coming up with different, yet effective ideas to approach life problems. It could be related to managing your finances, or running errands or solving a family dispute. Creativity has space in all these.
However, creativity is not limited to personal life. A creative individual can perform better in certain situations compared to others. According to Forbes.com, creatives have the ideas, the willingness and the passion to throw themselves full force into their work.
Now let us see, how creativity can make a difference in building and developing a successful business.
- Inventions and innovations: Majority of innovative ideas are built by creative minds. Also, inventions are born from an ability to solve problems and challenges creatively.
- Spontaneity: Creative people are good at addressing live questions and queries from customers, suppliers and employees. If you are a leader, you encounter multiple situations where you need to give spontaneous solutions to concerns from various parties.
- Positioning and promotion: Brand positioning is very critical to establishing your market presence. With the right promotion, you get to acquire the right set of customers. Doing this requires a creative mind to come up with innovative taglines and promotional techniques. Vodafone Zoozoos is a classic example of such a creative work.
So if you are a creative person, put those skills into your business to help differentiate yourself.
4. Open mindedness and respect
You might ask how these can be called skills. I call them skills since everybody doesn’t possess them, and they can be developed.
Open mindedness makes it easy for you to embrace change and accept conflicting opinions. It also helps you to see the bigger picture and prevent narrow streams of thinking. Respect on the other hand, helps you to pursue your decisions while respecting others’ opinion.
These two qualities can help you in business immensely. In the business world, you come across a variety of scenarios that require decision making after meticulously analyzing several choices. In such situations, you need to be open minded to consider unconventional, yet practically feasible ideas. It will also help you accommodate more suggestions from your own team members and employees.
Respect is not just about listening to others’ voice. It also involves respecting other employees’ integrity and pride. It is also about giving your subordinates with a sense of importance.
Open mindedness and respect together will facilitate your growth as a business leader as well. Also, employees obeying your instructions out of respect and acceptance, will build a motivated workforce over time.
5. Learning from experiences
The old saying ‘experience is the best teacher’ always stands true. Be it your personal life or job, experiences let you learn from your rights and wrongs.
In business, you have both pleasant and bitter experiences. Both leave you with lessons to learn and action points to take away. They also help you refine your skills and sharpen your knowledge.
Experiences in business scenarios equip you to do better work – improve clarity of thought, make perfect sales pitches, grow as a leader, stay motivated and much more. Learning from such experiences can not only help you as an individual, but enhance your business outcomes through process improvements, better team management, improved strategy & vision, etc.
So see experiences and engagements with customers, employees and suppliers as opportunities for self development.
That wraps up my tips on how you can apply some of the life skills to improve your business. Leave a comment if you wish to share your thoughts and views.
Also, think about which one of these skills you possess. And start applying them to your professional life.