Authors and Consultants | GP Strategies Corporation

Top Performer Perspective: Human Interaction Skills—Stories from the Field

Image courtesy of franky242 at

The last several weeks we’ve been discussing human interaction skills and how important they are to exemplary performance. During the time we’ve been writing this series of blog posts, we’ve encountered a real life example that illustrates our point.

We’ve been mapping a highly technical role involving specialized programming skills coupled with data mining and analytics. In other words, it is the epitome of a highly technical job—exactly the type of job where we would expect people to be appreciated and recognized for their technical excellence, but those expectations would be misleading.

We asked the managers of these highly technical people what key factors they looked for when hiring people into this role. Frankly, we expected to hear answers about technical depth or strong programming skills or extensive subject-matter expertise. But that’s not what we were told.

Instead the managers said that the secret ingredient was the top performers’ ability to translate their technical findings into stories that would influence business leaders to change their behavior. For the most part, all of the performers were equally adept at the technical side of the work. But the best were able to glean insights from their technical work and convert those insights into actionable results via the proficient application of human interaction skills.


Question to ponder:

  • Are you valuing the right skills in the right proportions as you build a top performing team or organization?



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