9 Priceless Skills In The Modern Day

Having recent decisions with leaders and writing my weekly Focus Leaders Letters newsletter, I have been thinking about which are the priceless skills to have in the modern-day office.

Here are the 9 skills I believe are priceless and essential today and for the foreseeable future.

Making Complicated Things Simple.

Being able to breakdown the complex into simple and understandable is priceless.

The old saying if you cannot explain to a six-year-old, you don’t know it enough can ring true.

Learn to explain in the most complicated in simple digestible and relatable chunks. A comparison (like this like the tires on a car, or this is like iMessage for Apple and is our equivalent moat for us) tends to work best with more seasoned execs.


The most powerful skill many of us have to work on.
Storytelling is the way we buy into ideas, concepts, and leaders. The best leaders can make the same story resonate every time they tell it, they tell the story differently and in empowering ways. If you have the data but that isn’t convincing colleagues, storytelling (learn the three-step process) will outweigh political clout seven out of ten times.

Below is a good overview of how the 3 act storytelling framework works. 


Saying I Don’t Know And Being Confident In Saying I Don’t Know

If you don’t know that is ok and knowing that is more than half of the battle especially when speaking to someone more senior.
If it is something you can revert back on say so, if it is something someone else is better equipped to answer, suggest them and why.

A skill can be knowing where you are right or strong and knowing you can bring someone else in and where you are not as strong.

Knowing The Environment & When The Feel Is Off

There are numerous times when you walk into an environment, on a call or meet someone and you know something is off.

Knowing the environment is not right or is not for you or your company is a human survival skill. The best people at this can make a quick exit gracefully and know it was the right thing to do by explaining this feeling in business terms.

Disney pulled out of a deal to buy Twitter very late in proceedings as they felt it was wrong and the environment wasn’t right for Disney as a brand.

Staying Calm Under Pressure.

Keeping your cool and knowing how to keep a calm head is invaluable. Panic mode sets in for numerous reasons but those who do not lose their head or cannot act normally will cause a ripple effect that is hard to shake.

As a leader, if you can stay calm and explain the situation with rational steps and what the team should be doing is priceless. This leads by example, encourages, and embeds this as the reaction that you require from the team. This sets the tone for the next event. I saw and learnt this first hand. Read more in my 27 lessons.

As I mentioned in team development 2021 developing out the right skills are essential and doing it early before the turn of the year can really set you and your team up for a better 21.

Owning, Managing & Maximising Your Time

Owning your time can be more challenging and seemly out of your control particularly now there is a cult around having to have meetings for everything.

If you can manage your time, maximise for deep and considered work, your output is going to be high quality. Managing your time is something that is challenging, being able to reduce meetings down by five minutes, knowing when to take a break and understanding when everyone is exhausted are essentials skills and very closely aligned.

One tip I have shared numerous times is reviewing your calendar, review the meetings you are in and rank them. If scores low and is unproductive, reduce down attendance, if can be optimised start setting the agenda and time keep. Make your time work for you and those around you. Cutting down a meeting from 30 minutes to 25 minutes will feel like a godsend.

Many people struggle with time but as it is the only constant we all have by managing time and flow you will be steps ahead of others.

Being Able To Keep Meetings On Track

It is extremely rare you can keep a meeting on track and control the output, working on and delivering a meeting that sets up the problem or task, has a flow and actions (including the owners of the actions) is a skill many do not have.


Many professionals are conditioned into celebrating a hero or someone who saves the day with an action. Typically this culture sticks and people are only rewarded when being heroic, this sets a bad tone and bad environment.

If you are consistently good, you consistently deliver you will raise the bar around you. Remember there isn’t always a need for a hero or the day to be saved.

In my 9ps: Problem, Pick, Plan, Prepare, Predict, Present, Preview, Prove, Proof post by knowing the process and understanding how to win, having consistency as a skill will stand head and shoulders above others when they are struggling or strategy is not crystal clear.

Seeing Opportunity Where Others Cannot

This is something that is some of the rarest skills. Most of us are primed and conditioned as humans to fit in to stay in the tribe, opportunity seers and seekers can often be the odd ones out and place themselves in a threat state as they are not conforming or have the ability to see where there are gaps, where to move towards and when to twist when others are sticking.

In my 2021 predictions and beyond, there are many of these skills, including keeping a calm head, seeing opportunities, and keeping meetings on track are essential for these verticals and market leaders mentioned.

These skills are even more important with the move to the hybrid office and will be essential to develop out and nurture in your team members.

What skills do you have or which ones do you need to work on?

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