Here’s my daily newsletter navigating the crossroads of business, growth, and life.
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“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
MBAs open doors. Degrees dazzle resumes. But once you're IN the room, a chilling truth awaits:
Technical skills fall flat without people skills to back them up.
Yet we obsess over hard skills - those amazing credentials that shine on paper. We assume they'll rocket us to the top once acquired.
So we grind through night schools harvesting letters to affix after our names.
We memorize equations and frameworks hoping to unlock incredible careers.
But the higher you climb, the faster hard skills erode in value. As leadership guru John Maxwell warns:
"When it comes to choosing between the natural talent and soft skills of two evenly talented leaders, soft skills will win every time."
Soft skills - the squishy, slippery, unquantifiable capabilities that influence how we manage ourselves, collaborate, lead change and generally move people to action.
Communication - conveying complex ideas simply
Empathy - understanding others' perspectives
Creativity - framing problems in new ways
Resilience - learning from challenges
Humility - collaborating without ego
Unlike technical skills, these socio-emotional superpowers can’t be memorized from textbooks. They're cultivated through self-work, modeling and experience.
Yet soft skills unlock the real keys to the C-suite.
Surprised? Don't be.
Here's why people trump technical qualifications over time...
1. Automation Displaces Expertise
Any technical skill you gain will eventually be automated or outsourced. But until robots achieve general intelligence, human emotional skills remain indispensable.
2. Innovations Demand Cross-Collaboration
As problems grow more complex in scale, solutions require bridging perspectives across fields. That demands mastering soft skills to lead integrated teams.
3. Culture Increasingly Decides Winners
A toxic culture drains talent and innovation faster than misguided strategy. Nurturing people reveals business potential technical prowess obscures.
So while you still need both, stop treating people skills as second class capabilities. At senior levels, it's relationships, creativity and resilience that separate the best from the rest.
The higher you go, the more your impact multiplies through others. And unlocking potential in people demands leading with compassion, not just competence.
As the iconic Maya Angelou quote goes:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The message is clear: in forecasting career success, soft skills carry exponentially more weight than hard ones alone ever could.
Keep stacking degrees and credentials. Check those prerequisite boxes that get you in the door.
But never forget that people skills keep you IN the room.
Technical mastery gave you a seat at the table. But it's emotional intelligence and visionary leadership that opens endless doors beyond.