Saturday, October 24, 2020

The skills stack

The skills stack. Heard of it? Somewhat like other stacks of stuff, except the focus is on skills needed in the PMO ... and elsewhere. 

Actually, to me, the description of the stack as provided by strategic thought leader Greg Githens, is less a stack -- which implies an ordering from top to bottom -- and more a flat mesh of interrelated skills. 
As used by Githens, one might argue with the term "skill", given that we usually think of skill as some ability specifically learned, practiced, and applied. But, if you expand "ability" into practiced and applied behavior, and also into directed energy and attention, then "skill" in this broader sense is what Githens is getting at. 
So, here are three "skills" ... broadly speaking ... I particularly like, as authored by Githens:
... AMBITION, [which] captures an individual’s desire to... achieve their goals.

... ANTICIPATION, [which] is ... looking into the future, knowing that your decisions today will bear their consequences in the future. ...

... REFRAMING, [which] is .... intentionally adopting new points of view and explanations. ...

To this I might add:

  • Ambition is typically personal, and often self-centered, but in a larger calling, one could be ambitious to be consequential, to wit: to make a difference that affects others as well as yourself. To be consequential, to have made a difference by your efforts, could be your goal. Why not?

  • Anticipation is certainly looking ahead into the future. A skillful anticipator can assemble a narrative, with its attendant consequences, benefits, costs, and risks, and sequence the tactics necessary to achieve the objective.

  • Reframing is a quite useful skill, often stated as "walk in the other guy's shoes". In effect, step out of your frame of reference and see it from your nemesis', customer's, sponsor's, or partner's perspective, experience, and sense of risk.
    Often, you have to set aside many biases, and reorder priorities in order to skillfully reframe a situation.
    Set aside biases? Really? That's not an easy thing to do. The science of game theory, however, provides some of the tooling that useful for seeing things from another point of view.

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