I was reading a Facebook post by an acquaintance recently that mentioned their many and convoluted skillsets and that got me thinking during a car journey.

I began by mentally listing things I could do to a reasonable level of skill and realised that many of them were actually “abilities” rather than necessarily “skills“. Of course, this led to a much deeper mental conversation and the bones of this article began to assemble!

Starting with a dictionary definition there is a fundamental similarity in the meaning of the words, they are quite interchangable in use and purpose:

  • possession of the means or skill to do something – “the manager had lost his ability to motivate the players”

My interpretation of the words are that abilities are things you are able to do as a result or outcome of the skills that you have learned through experience or acquired through being mentored.

  • the ability to do something well; expertise – “difficult work, taking great skill”

So while I personally have many abillities (that to some could be considered skills) – they all result from the foundation stones which are my skills. Putting a name on those key skills, which, to my mind sit, at the top of a hierarchy of ability was the next step in my thought process. These should be like folder tabs rather than individual files.

Considering my work, my “Why?” and my drive I realised my skillset could be, with relative ease, ‘tabbed’ as People, Process and Performance. Everything I say, do and achieve comes as a result of abilities under one, all or any combination of these skills.

People – teamwork, leadership, coordination

Process – planning, vision, logical progression

Performance – outcomes, results, strive for success

Breaking it down to an example – building my own home is a long term project and goal of mine. I know from Process how to go about finding a location, planning, budget, scheduling coordinating the People – local neighbour interactions, engineer, architect, contractors, planning office etc to achieve the Performance – outcomes of house on budget in the place I desire with least amount of personal financial disruption.

I know my abilities of building skills, design, machine operation, carpentry, painting, plumbing, etc etc will all feature but while my abilities enable me to build the house, it is my skillset which get me to build the house.

To answer the question, I believe knowing what your defining skillsets are is more important than listing an index of abilities. What do you think?

It wasn’t that long of a car trip but the idea has been rattling around in my head all week and I kept adding to it 🙂


Featured Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash