Meta skills

I like to do things efficiently.

I was drawn to Hight Intensity Interval Training, because 15-20 mins, twice a week, will see you fit as a fiddle, and in great shape.

And I taught myself to touch type, because…well, it’s self-evident really, isn’t it?

Over time I developed this idea of ‘meta skills’ – things that have positive, wide-ranging impacts on my life.

The important ones for me are:

Listening/Empathy -> better understanding of people, pick up more information, maintain better friendships, have more information for decision-making

Communication (writing, speaking) -> be able to communicate better, spend less time going back over dialogue, free up time for other things, open up more opportunities for myself

Fitness & flexibility (if these count as a skill) -> the ability to get through life more easily, with less aches and pains, with more energy, with more of a sense of humour, all of which can be reinvested into relationships and projects and accumulate benefits in a virtuous circle

And then the most meta of skills:

A sharp memory -> retained knowledge makes everything easier, improves relationships (no more forgotten anniversaries or present ideas, stories and jokes on tap, points of interest recalled at a moment’s notice), enhances prospects (work, investments, opportunities to synthesise data) and makes daily life easier, e.g. by remembering your work pass you don’t need to spend your day locked in or out of your office, waiting for patient colleagues to get you through security.

(NB this isn’t always my greatest strength)

Skills-based hiring

I thought I’d write about the concept of meta skills today and in the end came across a great analogy on this website in an article about skills-gap analysis.

I’m confident when it comes to screening, interviewing and hiring, but this article gave me some new ideas, which I’ll experiment with.

What stood out most though was the idea of ‘super skills and micro skills’

Super skills are “the ‘components’ that make up the unique ‘operating system’ of a person.” Capabilities like critical thinking, creativity, coachability, leadership, and problem-solving qualify as super skills.

Micro-skills, on the other hand, are “the ‘apps’ that the person ‘runs’ (or could run) on their unique super skills ‘operating system.’ These are the things a person can do really well (or learn to do), given their unique super skills footprint.” Micro-skills include things like graphic design, project management, QA testing, cold calling, or software development.

I love it – what a perfect analogy and explains things far better than I could have.

My meta skills (if they count as skills) align with the super skills category. Long-lasting, applicable in any context (if I get them right).

My touch-typing, Excel and PowerPoint keyboard short-cuts as well as my professional skill sets of Finance and Change Management, are micro-skills. They’ll become redundant over time, or be less applicable in other settings.

By running an audit on yourself, you might notice some super skills you didn’t realise you had, or spot some opportunities for improvement (like me and my memory 🙂 )

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