Soft Skills from a Liberal Arts Perspective

It turns out that people with an Arts degree may have the right type of soft skills to succeed in areas that are uncertain and murky.  That being the case – here are the soft skills that people with a Liberal Arts education tend to have:

  1. Being curious and willing to try new things.

It is speculated about 70 % of working people want to be told what to do and do that over and over again.  Enter the need for curiosity, and the ability to make up the rules as you along, a strong characteristic of Arts grads.

  1. Decoding or analytic skills.

Unpacking systems and processes are what Arts graduates are generally better at than others.  Using critical thinking skills developed during the degree courses is invaluable in terms of putting all of the puzzle pieces together into a logical framework.  It is also valuable when it comes to unearthing details overlooked by others.

  1. Reading people and communicating.

Having empathy and being able to see people as they are is a skill that Arts graduates have in spades.  Focusing on what others want and need and then being able to communicate that clearly is hugely beneficial.


Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Business Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at


Introverts and Highly Sensitive People Are Needed Now

Not everyone in our culture is an alpha person.  For those of us who are introverted or highly sensitive that world is one that is foreign.  The natural tendencies for those who are not the alpha type are quite different from the “go get what you want and take charge” perspective that defines our culture.

Introverts and highly sensitive people are different and that is an important distinction.  Introverted people are on the quieter side.  Highly sensitive people may not be as quiet.  They do however share some of the same natural tendencies.

  1. The need for quiet time is one of them. Alone time to process information is important for both traits.
  2. The need or preference to work alone for part of the time. Again to process information and offer solutions beyond what is typical or expected.
  3. Having deep and meaningful discussions with colleagues or friends on a one-to-one basis. Group and large meetings have their place and both traits are able to deliver in large groups.  The one-to-one dynamic is needed to build quality business interactions that are based on trust.

At this time workplaces and the overall culture of “go get what you want and take charge” is under question.  The overall volatility of the workplace and life in general is demanding a review of values and mores that have been help as the only way forward until recently.  Introverts and highly sensitive people are demonstrating that another way of doing business and being in the world is possible.  And at this time in history those other ways are a necessity.

What other traits do you value in highly sensitive and introverted people?

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Business Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at


Grit and the Art of Staying with It

At work and home most of us lead fast paced lives that require a certain level of commitment. For myself before the day is complete at the office or on an assignment I need to spend 10 minutes at least prioritizing the areas that need to be addressed the next day. That gives me a sense of completion. It allows me to be able to move from work mode to home mode. At home there are inevitably several areas that require and need my attention. I use the same practice of writing down the areas that need to be addressed the next day just before getting ready for a good night’s sleep. In my experience being well rested is crucial to maintain the pace of life and my physical well-being.

Grit is that determination and passion that fuels me through the rough spots or the maze of a work and home day. Having grit is really the art of staying with something to have it come to fruition. Staying the course in the midst of a change management process has brought the importance of grit home to me. Giving in to circumstances that do not align with the project and the expressed purpose of the change does not serve.

When challenged or confronted by difficult circumstances or people I rely on grit to kick in and carry me through.  The truth is that it has done so whatever the challenge has been.

Where does grit show up for you?

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at



Engaging Leaders When They are Resistant

Working as an agent of change the most common factor that I run into is resistance to change. Not surprisingly it typically comes from the leaders in a group or business.  The issue of resistance is an aspect that receives a lot of attention pointed with an equal amount of recommendations for mitigation.

Here are some of the best tools I found to work with leaders when resistance shows up.

  1. Ask questions that educate. Focus on the questions that will cause the leaders to think differently and to embrace other points of view.
  2. Find out what the pain points are and put processes in place for reduction of those points. Engage leaders in a one-to-one discussion as to what they are feeling.  Ask questions to assist in the identification what is bothering them. Provide support for the leaders to articulate resolution.
  3. Take a stand and be influential not pushy. Suggest options that serve the process and allow the leaders to make the choices as to what action steps they are willing to take.
  4. Model good change leadership to the stakeholders. Ensure that your behaviour models good change process. Engage leaders in a feedback process, ensure they agree, and then deliver.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Self – Awareness is Necessary for Change

The Oxford dictionary defines awareness as the “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact”.  Given that perception is a large part of awareness the question come to mind – what  types of awareness  is brought to the workplace?

Are you someone who shows up at work with the awareness of it being difficult?  Or having past experiences cloud your judgement of a current situation?

Or are you someone who comes to work with the awareness that different opinions from your own are necessary for growth and change?  Do you focus on the needs of other worker s before your own?

Having the latter part of perception and awareness is required to be successful at work.  The shadow side of focusing on difficult and the negative negates having positive and lasting change to occur.

Need further details?  Contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at

Management of Change and Resistance

There are 12 common reasons why people resist change in the workplace.

Today the focus is on 4 of those areas.

  1. Job Loss

Any process, technological advancement, systems, or product change will include streamlining, working smarter, cost reduction, efficiency, or faster turnaround times. Staff and or managers will resist the changes that result in their roles being eliminated or reduced. From their perspective change is harmful to their position.

  1. Poor Communication Strategy

An inability or unwillingness to communicate what, why, how, when, who and what success will look like or how success is going to be measured you can expect resistance!  Staffers that do not understand the need for change will have their back up. Especially those staff who strongly believe the current way of doing things works well and has done so over many years.

  1. Shock and Fear of the Unknown

A typical break down of staff reaction to change is 20% being highly supportive, 20% aggressively, and 60% being ambivalent about it. During periods of change some s may feel the need to cling to the past because it was a more secure, predictable time. If what they did in the past worked well for them, they may resist changing their behavior out of fear that they will not achieve as much in the future.

  1. Loss of Control

Routines provide staff with a sense of control over their environments. Being asked to change the way they operate may add to feelings of powerless and confusion. People are more likely to understand and implement changes when they feel they have some form of control.

Need greater clarity – contact me to discuss.

Solo and Small Biz Change Agent, Marie-Helene Sakowski at