In my view, a really large part of why teams don’t perform to their full potential, or customer relationships break down, can usually be traced to underdeveloped softer skills.

A key to unlocking full team potential – and a key reason I started Ankaris SG -  is often in developing skills which we may think of as ‘fluffy’ but which are actually important success drivers.

To me, it’s a simple as actually understanding what people need and want, and being be able to communicate and to effectively negotiate what you need and want in return.  Hours, days and even months of grief in our business lives could be saved if people were coached in how to do these relatively simple things.

And it starts right from the beginning of the communication process

  1. Most of us don’t listen very well – we love to talk – and miss important information because we haven’t been coached in how to be a good listener
  2. We have difficulty in asking questions that don’t put other people on the defensive. Learning how to get needed information without getting someone else offside is a simple but important skill we can all develop
  3. We are often uncomfortable presenting.  How often has a great idea, great strategy or great concept failed to get approved because it just wasn’t presented very effectively?
  4. And the process of negotiating can derail things if handled improperly.  I was a commercial director for many years negotiating with big clients, and I really believe that it’s possible to build win/win deals in ways which make business relationships stronger and more enduring.

Being properly trained and coached in these skills which are sometimes overlooked can help make a good team even better.

And the biggest kick I get in my working life is running into someone I’ve trained or coached and hearing feedback that it’s made a huge difference in their business life and success. Which I find hugely satisfying.