The Hard Thing About Soft Skills

We often talk about culture like it's something with a fixed solution, as if it's based on hard skills that we can learn and easily apply at any organization. But that's not exactly how it works, because culture is really about the soft skills. 

The challenging thing about describing it that way is that people fluff off the idea of softs kills. "Soft skills" don't sound powerful, or like they'd convert effectively when it comes to measuring ROI. But don't let that fool you. Soft skills are the most powerful and important part of building a strong culture. 

They're also harder to learn because the rules for effectiveness change with every scenario—they change with every different company, with every different person. 

Developing a culture grounded in values requires a high level of EQ. It requires strong communication skills. It requires a growth mindset, genuine curiosity, and patience. It requires coaching skills, the ability to deal with different personalities, and relationship-building skills. 

Whether you call them soft or not, these skills are incredibly valuable, and core components of some of the happiest, strongest, and most productive company cultures in the world.