Foundation Job Skills
The 17 Foundation Skills are those required of all workers in the high-performance workplace of the 21st century. They were developed from several high-level government commission reports. A corporate vice president and director at Motorola, Jim Burge, wrote this,
“At my company, Motorola, the only constant is change. Jobs that were once relatively simple now require high-performance work processes and enhanced skills. Today’s job skills, identified by Professor Lawrence Jones in Job Skills for the 21st Century, reflect these changing workplace realities and help students, job applicants, and employees anticipate change.”
There are four groups of Foundation Skills:
1. Basic Skills
Reading: Identify relevant details, facts, and specification; locate information in books/manuals, from graphs; find meaning of unknown words; judge accuracy of reports; use computer to find information.
Writing: Write ideas completely and accurately in letters and reports with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation; check, edit, and revise for accuracy and emphasis, use computer to communicate information.
Mathematics: Use numbers, fractions, and percentages to solve problems; use tables, graphs, diagrams, and charts; use computer to enter, retrieve, change, and communicate numerical information.
Speaking: Organize and communicate ideas clearly; speak clearly; select language, tone of voice, and gestures appropriate to audience.
Listening: Listen carefully to what person says, noting tone of voice, and other body language; respond in a way that shows understanding of what is said.
2. Thinking Skills
Creative Thinking: Use imagination freely, combining ideas or information in new ways; make connections between ideas that seem unrelated.
Problem-Solving Skills: Recognize problem; identify why it is a problem; create and implement a solution; watch to see how well a solution works; revise as needed.
Decision Making Skills: Identify goal; generate alternatives and gather information about them; weigh pros and cons; choose best alternative; plan how to carry out choice.
Visualization: See a building or object by looking at a blueprint, drawing, or sketch; imagine how a system works by looking at a schematic drawing.
3. People Skills
Social: Show understanding, friendliness, and respect for feelings; assert oneself when appropriate; take an interest in what people say and why they think and act as they do.
Negotiation: Identify common goals among different parties in conflict; clearly present the facts and arguments of your position; listen to and understand other party’s position; create possible ways to resolve conflict; make reasonable compromises.
Leadership: Communicate thoughts and feelings to justify a position; encourage or convince others; make positive use of rules or values; demonstrate ability to have others believe in and trust you because of your competence and honesty.
Teamwork: Work cooperatively with others; contribute to group with ideas and effort; do own share of work; encourage team members; resolve differences for the benefit of the team; responsibly challenge existing procedures, policies, or authorities.
Cultural Diversity: Work well with people having different ethnic, social, or educational backgrounds; understand the concerns of members of other ethnic and gender groups; base impressions on a person’s behavior, not stereotypes; understand one’s own culture and those of others and how they differ; respectfully help people in these groups make cultural adjustments when necessary.
4. Personal Qualities
Self-Esteem: Understand how beliefs affect how a person feels and acts; “listen” to and identify irrational or harmful beliefs you may have; and understand how to change these negative beliefs when they occur.
Self-Management: Assess your knowledge and skills accurately; set specific, realistic personal goals; monitor progress toward your goal.
Responsibility: Work hard to reach goals, even if task is unpleasant; do quality work; display high standard of attendance, honesty, energy, and optimism.