Soft Skills, Hard Knowledge

Planning training programmes for 2019? We’ve just published our energy industry management courses for 2019, following discussion with clients about what they need (see here).  Two themes keep coming up in these discussions on training needs for 2019.

One is the constant demand to improve knowledge and understanding of our complex industry. No department now operates in its own silo, and energy businesses increasingly want people at all levels to have sight of the “big picture” as a way to encourage innovation and benefit from change. The other theme is – for the oil and gas world – a more recent one: the recognition that soft skills play a vital role in creating a successful business. Regular readers will know this is a topic we have covered several times in the past, and it is at the core of our Leadership in Energy programme, as well as being incorporated into our other courses such as Contracts & Negotiations.

Both these issues apply in particular to the advent of new technologies: experts in AI, Big Data, blockchain etc need to understand the oil business in order to apply their skills effectively, and managers and leaders need to have the soft skills – adaptability, openness, communications – to welcome these new technologies and create value from them. When hard knowledge is combined with soft skills, companies open the way to innovation, inspiration – with the resulting impact on performance improvement.

Another topic clients raise with us is the online vs classroom debate. Of course online training has huge benefits – flexibility of timing, cost – but there is no substitute for personal interaction with others, especially when dealing with soft skills and learning about complex subjects. At a recent oil and gas conference we attended, it was interesting to hear how many senior delegates preferred to limit online training to compliance and process issues, insisting that management development required a more personal approach. Our in-house clients certainly see the internal networking opportunities of our courses as a major benefit alongside the acquisition of skills and knowledge.

And that of course brings us to the age-old question of ROI – quantifying the benefits of investing in training. Listening to speakers at the recent Black Sea Oil & Gas conference, it’s clear that we are already seeing the disadvantages of not investing in training, as companies struggle with finding the right talent after cutting budgets – especially training – in the past few years. Some of the benefits are intangible, or only show up years later – but there are also ways to track effectiveness over and above simple course evaluation scores, and with our in-house events we can also incorporate specific business initiatives. If you’d like to discuss any of these, please get in touch.

You will see from the 2019 list that we offer a range of courses all over the world: we are very happy to travel to where ever is most convenient for our clients, to deliver a personal, local experience in a global industry.

 2019 Global Training Calendar – Courses for the Energy Business 

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