Soft Skills Are Hard: Thrive In a Diverse Work Culture

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Working successfully in the enterprise entails communication and collaboration with a diverse range of individuals in other geographies, other organizations, other disciplines. Perhaps you’ve had to

  • Navigate a complex, political Sales channel process, to persuade a Sales SVP that UX work can fit within deal-flows without hurting deals
  • Facilitate a project kickoff with an ambitious new GM,and a group of “lifer” executives
    Mediate implementation milestones across globally distributed managers whose goals and incentives do not align
  • Engage veteran IT System Admins to understand customer needs beyond just standard requirements docs

The complex demands of the enterprise require “soft skills”, which are more than just interpersonal skills.

In this workshop, we’ll focus on the role of the whole person in our work and take a hard look at what it really takes from us as people to get work done—working with colleagues, leaders and users—and trying to deal better with ourselves! These are the skills you know you need, but no one has ever thought to help you improve.

Steve will share some of his own “muscles of innovation,” and work with you to identify and develop more. We’ll explore how to improve and strengthen the skills that we identify as crucial. Each participant will develop a personal action plan that identifies goals and the tasks to accomplish those goals.

What you’ll learn

  • A meaningful understanding of why soft skills are important
  • A focus on individually relevant soft skills to develop (such as receiving criticism, facilitation, listening, confidence, humility)
  • Tactical steps that you can take to sharpen those particular skills (for example, making eye contact, saying “thank you”, setting end-times for tasks)


  • Warm up
  • An introduction to soft skills
  • Break
  • Generate your relevant soft skills
  • Skillshare for skill development
  • Lunch
  • Brainstorm new skill development
  • Break
  • Develop your action plan
  • Review and iterate action plan
  • Wrap up

Who Should Attend

This workshop will benefit from a diverse set of participants and we welcome people from different disciplines (design, product management, technology, strategy, engineering, marketing and so on), with different working styles (solitary, interactive, focused, intermittent and so on) and at different levels of their careers.