America's top colleges say success in life depends on your soft skills

Harvard and Stanford believe that 85% of success in life depends on a person's soft skills

According to a joint study by Harvard University, Stanford University, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 85% of success in life depends on a person's soft skills.

Companies generally pay close attention to the relevant soft skills that fit their culture. There is an increasing tendency to ask an applicant in interviews about their communication competence and their desire to innovate.

There's also been work done over almost 100 years that attempts to capture quantitatively how a person's soft skills can be identified and measured.

In 1946, psychologist Raymond Cattell's 16 Personality Factors was published after Cattell spent years analyzing Gordon Allport's 1936 work identifying 4500 personality-describing adjectives which he considered to define observable behavioral traits.

In 1963, W.T. Norman replicated Cattell’s work and suggested that five factors would be sufficient.

The Life Skills Studio model takes a very different approach to Cattell, Allport, and Norman, though a comparison of the models is an interesting exercise. See attached image.

You'd expect there'd be changes given Cattell published his model 80-years ago, and there are, but not drastically so.

At Life Skills Studio our analysis work has focused on measuring whether people consciously apply soft skills whereas Cattell and co. used personality testing that is skewed by finding results based on conscious and subconscious behaviors.

The glaring omission by all three psychologists is to ignore the skill of Writing, which Life Skills Studio considers to be a super-power skill. The Life Skills Studio model has 9 skills shown in the matrix below.

The Life Skills Studio designer, Greg Twemlow, has mapped the 16 Personality Factors and the 5 Factor Personality models to the 9 Life Skills Studio model (see the image below). Greg commented, "it was a fascinating exercise to research the work of these acclaimed psychologists and the models they devised. The models were created around mid-20th-century and clearly life was very different. It's very clear to me that their models were built on a series of quantitative analyses that were at least somewhat flawed, though I'm sure the work was conducted with constructive intent. The major issue I have with their approach is that it fails to differentiate between conscious and subconsious application of soft skills. This is the major and significant difference between Cattell, Allport, and Norman's work and the pedagogy of the Life Skills Studio model. The Life Skills Studio model is centered on ensuring that the key life skills are consciously applied, which means that the individual has the potential to continually refine and perfect each skill."

Mr Twemlow elaborated that he was surprised that the skill of being a Writer was overlooked by Cattell and Norman, especially given the period in which they did their analysis. He further commented, "I feel it's almost impossible to select just one of the 9 Life Skills as the  most important. In my experience the 9 skills coalesce to enable a person's potential to be a powerful persuader, and that's because we all spend so much of our lives persuading. If you reflect on how much time you spend persuading, I think you'll appreciate that I'm right. I've tried many times to identify the one skill that is more important than any other and simply can't choose a specific skill. All 9 skills really have to be learnt and applied to ensure that a person can make the maximum impact during and their life."

The Life Skills Studio learning programs are applicable for people of all ages. Enquire about how you can leverage the programs.

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