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“Skills” are technical, functional, or soft domains of expertise and ability that people own. They refer to specific abilities that people have and can demonstrate while performing their professional duties. Skills should not be confused with capabilities, which are how the everyday use of individuals skills is translated into the context of the business.

Power skills, sometimes called “soft skills” or “behavioral skills,” are the people and managerial skills required to do work.  These may include less technical skills such as communication or collaboration but also include behaviors impacting the way work is done, such as agility or resilience. Increasingly, organizations are finding that hard or technical skills are easier to build or train, while power skills are much more difficult to acquire. Organizations need to reinforce these skills in every way possible, recognize and reward people who have these skills, and make them a core element of the culture.

Building the right skills is integral to business success. In every company, regardless of size, leaders and managers struggle to hire for skills, identify what skills are needed, and continuously build those skills. Every company needs to arrange, align, and use skills for the projects, strategies, and differentiating products and services it builds. This can be achieved through building an enterprise skills strategy that focuses on the parts of the company where this is most urgent: where operations may be underperforming, where there exists a current or future talent gap, and where long-term transformation is due.

Skills should not be confused with capabilities, which are the business-oriented competencies that group skills into meaningful terms that are well recognized as criteria for success in a job or role. 

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