Key Soft and Hard Skills required in 2019 and beyond

Focused Skill Development

On new year’s day LinkedIn Learning Editor Paul Petrone posted an article setting out the work-place skills (hard and soft) most needed in 2019. One day later there were already over 3000 ‘likes’. LinkedIn obviously reach across continents, cultures, sectors, organisation types; so their needs analysis deserves attention. (Petrone, P. 2019)

He reminds us that “Strengthening a soft skill is one of the best investments you can make in your career, as they never go out of style. Plus, the rise of AI is only making soft skills increasingly important, as they are precisely the type of skills robots can’t automate”.

We compared Paul’s list to our offers, based on a conversational approach to skills development and culture change:

LinkedIn Identified Soft Skills Most Needed Offers
Creativity Stifled creativity and innovation
Persuasion Communication styles, language, jargon
Collaboration Communication styles, language, jargon
Adaptability Resilience and adaptability Organisation and individual members
Time Management Entrenching basic business skills Time, energy and stress management
LinkedIn Identified Hard Skills Most Needed Offers Comments
Analytical reasoning Entrenching basic business skills Focus; problem solving, decision making, sense making
People management:





Living the organisation’s purpose


Flourishing leadership, From values to virtues

I and We in teams, Masks that we wear, Escaping psychic prisons, Spirit of our workplace

Diversity and discord, Making our workplace more cohesive

Includes establishing individual motivational fingerprints


Accent on serving


Sales leadership Sales performance
Journalism Story in business Story includes imagery, metaphor, anecdote – competent use and application
Digital marketing Story in business
Competitive strategies: customer needs Superior customer and stakeholder service
Customer service systems Superior customer and stakeholder service

Offers that we highly recommend for your consideration, because of their high relevance to business today, not identified in the LinkedIn article, are:

  • Empowering Beliefs and Limiting Beliefs
  • Leveraging Knowledge Power
  • Achieving Organisation and Personal Mastery
  • Developing a Culture of Sustainability/ Regeneration
  • Spirituality (in governance, leadership, projects, organisations)


Conversations have great power but the art of good conversational practice is in danger of being lost in today’s digital, divisive, distracting, dynamic world. A world where change is frenetic, demands threaten overwhelm, trust continues to erode, keeping up with information and development is a huge challenge.

The development process that we have designed and applied in Africa and the USA thus far, result in inclusion, harnessing diversity, engagement, positive change and growth – which we believe are business imperatives. It is psychologically safe, participants feel valued and empowered, and own and drive resulting initiatives. “A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Lack of candour, if unchecked, ultimately leads to dysfunctional environments” — Ed Catmull, President of Pixar

How the process works. Actual elapsed time is remarkably short and cost-effective:

Focused survey

Generation of an on-line survey (customised and focused as determined with the client) with immediate graphic analyses of existing knowledge, attitudes, perceived needs provides hard data. Specific and open-ended questions are also designed with the purpose of triggering new thinking around the survey topic.

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question” – Eugène Ionesco. 

Topic immersion

Participants are able to access a range of opinion pieces, reflections and exercises – independently or facilitated as required – allowing a deep (but unpressured) dive into the learning. 

Facilitated anecdote circles

Following the knowledge gaining and preparation in the first two steps, constructive, open and confidential ‘group conversations’ are conducted using anecdote circle technology. The circles are designed and facilitated as safe and positive containers for sharing stories, feelings and perspectives, listening, surfacing valuable information and insights, (beyond the ‘edges’ of what they would previously have explored), and collective wisdom emerges. ‘Right brain’ qualitative information has been merged with the ‘left brain’ quantitative information gathered from the survey.

Implementation of changes

Buy in and implementation ensues naturally and automatically follows a typical appreciative inquiry set of principles and process. Coaching (individuals and teams), process redesign, training, culture change nudges and shifts, and other initiatives proceed.

For a PDF brochure providing more detail on the conducting of the surveys, topics covered, design options, content, and survey-combination possibilities, contact:

Steve  Graham

You may also wish to visit:


Petrone, Paul (2019) Skills Companies Need Most in 2019 – and how to learn them

Hits: 104