Technical Skills and Adaptive Skills. It is Helpful to Know the Difference.

Technical Skills and Adaptive Skills. It is Helpful to Know the Difference.

written by: Mr. Patrick Streppel
by: Mr. Patrick Streppel
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Viktor Frankl, holocaust survivor and a renowned psychiatrist once said: "If we are unable to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves."

Some situations are fairly simple to change, especially where they are tangible and specific. If you don't like your house to be dirty, you clean it. If you feel hungry, you eat. When something is broken, you repair it or ask someone to do it for you.

Changing those situations is even easier when you have good physical strength, authority, status or money, and the more, the better. Strength allows you to create or maintain things in and around your house, authority makes people listen and obey, status changes situations like a magic wand and money can do wonders too. Attributes like these can do almost anything.

The tricky word is, of course, almost.

There are moments in life when you find yourself in situations where money, authority, status or money can't help you much.

What do you do with them when you see your body change and don't like the effects; see your relationships change and not for the better; see yourself confronted with new situations at work you don't know how to handle, or when you realize that negative habits or addictions are getting in your way?

Whether we like it or not, physical strength, authority, status and money can't do it all.

Because we can't slow down or stop the changes in and around us, we have only one option left to deal with changing situations, and that is to change ourselves.

This means that we have to attain new skills.

Companies and individuals annually spend billions of dollars on training for this purpose. Not much of a problem as long as the training is meant for acquiring technical skills; knowing how to operate new machinery, learning a new (computer) language or updating one's knowledge about legal matters.

We are willing to dedicate our time, commitment and money because there is a higher purpose; the companies' continuity or our job and income.

But similar to the attributes mentioned before; physical strength, authority, status and money, technical skills also have their limits. What can you do with technical skills alone when it comes to sales training, handling emotions, delegating, and stepping back to allow a younger generation to take up more responsibilities?

Technical skills can still be helpful, think of phone scripts for sales training, but are often not sufficient to improve one's social skills to optimize client experience without harming the companies' interest.

This is where adaptive skills enter the picture, which translates to improving one's mental and social skills. Whether in our personal or professional life, it is the most difficult area to make changes.

Learning a new technical skill is fairly easy. Concentration and repetition are in most cases enough to ingrain new brain patterns and establish a desired way of thinking and behaving.

Improving one's mental and social skills leading to adaptive changes are far more difficult. We find out about this when we recently decided to control our emotions better, delegate more or give a younger generation the possibility to express and implement their ideas...

...but realize that our behavior is causing the opposite results of what we rationally considered as wise.

Apparently, more than that we want the change to happen, we want something else even more. Clearly, a bigger commitment interfered and dictated our behavior.

If we want to implement the change we decided to make, we first have to bring that bigger commitment to the surface because you can't create a solution if you don't have a clear picture of what is causing the problem.

The reason bigger commitments dictate our behavior, wanted or unwanted, is that they invariably linked to built-in survival instincts that serve to preserve the status quo, in other words, to hold on to what is familiar and known and therefore safe.

You can tell someone or yourself to eat less and move more, to act less emotional, to delegate more, to be nice, to allow younger employees to fail and learn, to be more patient with the kids, be a better listener, think more from your partner's or someone else's standpoint... ...but for that to happen, you need to grab your searchlight first and identify your higher commitment that frustrates the positive change you want to make.

Unfortunately, this is not something you can do overnight or realize with training sessions that last a few days or weeks and predominantly focus on improving one's technical skills.

Fact is, this is what most companies and people worldwide do with the result that billions are wasted that could and should have been spent elsewhere. If we want to keep up with a society that becomes more complex every year, we have to be willing and ready to improve our mental and social skills with tools and techniques that are specially created to do so.

Guess what, it can be a very rewarding and even a pleasurable journey, especially when you and the people around you begin to notice positive changes such as becoming more creative and productive and more enjoyable to have around.

An extra benefit for you is that it can save you from physical, mental and emotional pains that frequently lead to the common life-threatening diseases we are all so familiar with.

As a motivational speaker, coach and change expert, I help men and women, especially those on the threshold or in the midst of the second phase of their lives, with tools and techniques that reduce stress and allow the flow of relaxed focus to create the life they want for themselves and those they care for.

If this is something you want for yourself, for someone else or for people you represent, then your first action is to scroll down on this page and send me a message.

The next step is that I'll contact you to explore how we can work together.

Talk to you soon.