It is often said that the people graduating from colleges and universities nowadays are “half-baked”.. This is usually attributed to employers, who get tired of “baby-sitting” new employees. I find this kind of assertion demeaning to the concept of college and/or university education. In fact it is outright self-righteous, because as William Butler Yeats once said “Education is Not the Filling of Pail (or Bucket) but the Lighting of a Fire”. Let me use the analogy of a baby…when will the baby walk? S/he will walk when she wants. In my community we first train a baby to stand on her/his own, before we train them to walk. We say..”Tungelele”. Thereafter, we take them outside to the morning dew and make them walk bare-foot in the dew, while supporting them. We say “Tete-tete”. In the beginning they take baby steps, if they are going fall we support them, again and again until they can manage on their own. Since the dew is chilly they are compelled to keep going. That is the Bukusu version of a Baby Walker. My thesis is that when one graduates from college or university, they are green and untinctured by experience. The irony is that most employers demand or expect that these graduates must have experience. Let us first discuss the kind of skills that are expected and why they are not enough.
There are several types of skills. A skill set (also spelled as skillset) is a particular category of knowledge, abilities, and experience necessary to perform a job. Specific skill set areas include human relations, research and planning, accounting, leadership, management, and computer skills. Skills are your natural talents and the expertise you develop to perform a task or a job. Life skills help you deal with daily tasks in all areas of life; Job skills allow you to perform specific work duties. There are several key types of skills: soft skills, hard skills, domain-general, and domain-specific skills. Soft skills are universal and not associated with a particular job or industry. Think communication, active listening, and empathy. Hard skills are abilities you learn on the job, through formal education, or additional training. They are teachable, measurable, and related to a specific job. For instance, if you work in customer service, your hard skills will include data-entry and product knowledge. On your curriculum vitae hard skills show what you can do. Soft skills indicate how you’ll perform your duties.
It takes a cluster of related abilities, commitments, knowledge attitudes and skills to enable a person (or an organization) to act effectively in a job or a situation. Competencies refer to skills or knowledge that lead to superior performance. … A competency is more than just knowledge and skills. When you see a man on top of Mt. Kenya, you have to recognize that he got there by sheer will power and commitment, blood, sweat and tears. He must have encountered several obstacles and challenges. It takes initiative, a burning ambition and aspects of good luck and goodwill.
Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, USA (Bowdoin.edu)
It is virtually impossible to describe all the skills and competencies in details here, so I am selecting just a few so that true scholars, of which I expect every Surveyor to aspire to be, can navigate and uncover the rest.
As the central responsibility of a Surveyor (Manager) is to deliver effective management and support of functions that an organisation serves, strong leadership skills are essential. There will be occasions when you need to step up and take charge, particularly when things don’t go to plan. You will need to set goals; be a good organiser; Ensure people respond to ideas and instructions; Allow them to contribute; Managers must be able to motivate their colleagues and external suppliers; Measuring the results efficiently. These decisions include Delegating to others; But even as you delegate, ensure the team is given meaningful assignments, AND FOLLOW UP!!!! Communication & interpersonal skills; As the manager, you have to deal with lots of people every day, whether that is engaging with colleagues or liaising with executives and vendors. You need to be able to communicate effectively and know how to build connections with people, learn what motivates the people in your team and be able to influence your colleagues. As a manager, you must empower your colleagues and inspire people to achieve the business objectives in the Value Addition Value Chain.
It’s important that a Leader (surveyor) has an understanding of business trends and the impact on his/her employer’s industry.
The Key to success as a leader is having an insider’s insight and knowing how your role can positively impact your business’s bigger picture.
Innovation & Creativity; Flexibility & Adaptability; Verbal Communication; Written Communication; Digital Literacy; Technical Aptitude; Critical Thinking & Problem Solving; Quantitative Reasoning; Teamwork & Collaboration; Global Fluency; Professionalism & Work Ethic; Project Management; Leadership; Initiative; Active Listening; Due Diligence; Analytical and Critical Thinking; Customer Service; Decision Making; Interpersonal skills; Business Case; Leadership; Organization; Public Speaking; Negotiation; Occupational Safety and Health; Commercial Awareness; Risk Management – Disaster, Insurance; Legal awareness – Regulations and Compliance; Alternative Dispute Resolutions; Project Management; Change Management – Business Process Re-engineering (BPR); Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Kaizen.
All Surveyors deal with lots of information that requires problem-solving, such as financial planning and budgeting, which are both important parts of the job, but they do not do this in a vacuum, they deal with people. They must be able to communicate verbally and in writing, so they can make presentations and be adept at public speaking.
Some universities demand that before they graduate, their students get field or work experience but there are no pathways nor structured methods or arrangements to obtain this. In many instances the students are left to their own devices; perhaps the intention is that they become their own bosses or CEO’s or MD’s. This is all well and good but there ought to be a helping hand. After graduating the potential employer asks for work experience, which to me is reductio ad absurdum or argumentum ad absurdum (Latin for “argument to absurdity”). In the end no one benefits as the employer requires new and fresh blood and the college graduate needs a job placement. It has been said that some employers pay very little indeed, barely enough to pay for commuting. Those who hang around long enough eventually get promoted and their pay is increased. Thus far we see and hear of other professionals like lawyers and engineers being engaged as leaders of the primary activities of organizations, but rarely do we find Surveyors, with burning ambition to go beyond the traditional Support activities. Moreover we tend to be quite comfortable to be in that support role and fear to venture further afield into the primary role, as if we are children of a lesser God, Being made to feel that we are not good enough.. For this we need guts and other competencies and skills that Professor Michael Porter refers to in his ground-breaking 5 Forces of Industry Competition. The tool was created by Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, to analyze an industry’s attractiveness and likely profitability. … He identified five forces that make up the competitive environment, and which can erode your profitability. These are: Competitive Rivalry.
LET US LOOK: Top of into the different types of skills and Competencies and the level of criticality of Competencies in organisations.
These definitions were extracted from a number of different sources, but they all seem to say, more-or-less, the same thing:
So, a Skill is something Learned in order to be able to carry out one or more job functions.
Again, these definitions were extracted from a number of different sources:
Competencies, therefore, may incorporate a skill, but are MORE than the skill, they include abilities and behaviours, as well as knowledge that is fundamental to the use of a skill.
7.1 TYPES OF COMPETENCIES
Competencies effectively fall in three groups:
Levels of Criticality
In any organisation there are some Competencies that are more important than others, based on different criteria:
By Wafula Nabutola
The writer is a full member of ISK and the Chairperson of the Building Surveyors Registration Board.