Transferable (dancing) skills
I believe in the importance of transferable skills and that is why I find the French education system so confusing. To be able to get a job in an office, you must complete business studies and a business degree. University was, and still is for me – my Masters didn’t end until September) all about building competence. Understanding how to build arguments, negotiate with peers, present in groups, organize myself to meet deadlines, and deal with incompetent tutors. All the things that will help you in the world of work.
Yesterday however, I was challenged by my conviction that skills learned in one situation can be applied in another. Nike Dance Workout.
It’s not that difficult, is it? I thought. I thought. Yes, some of it was possible because of my transferable skills. I was able to keep up with the choreography and wasn’t too tired at end. But I doubt I’ll ever be a great hip-hop dancer.
This is the difference between knowledge and skills. Let’s forget about innate ability, which our prof de dine clearly had in abundance. Skills are the things that help you acquire knowledge. These include competences, abilities and whatever other buzzword you choose. Knowledge is transferable and thus learnable. Some would argue that skills can be taught. To a certain degree, I agree with that assertion. However, there is a distinction between teaching communication skills or managing a risk. You can improve your skills with practice and awareness. You can also make up for any lack of them by being an expert in other areas. You can’t learn enough to be successful without the right knowledge.
We have to ask ourselves what is more important in project management recruitment: Is it that the candidate has great people skills and the ability to get things done, an attention to detail, and a willingness to learn? Is it that they have a certificate that says “I’m project manager” from one of our esteemed institutes?
French employers already know the answer. So do I. What do you think?