If you spend any time in the kitchen, at some point you realize that knife skills are indispensable. In fact, learning those knife skills is, IMHO, more important that learning about mother sauces, braising vs. boiling, etc. Why? Because those basic skills make everything else you do in the kitchen faster and better. The even surface area that a nicely diced cube has makes it cook evenly along with all the others like it so that one part of the dish isn’t overdone while another is still raw. If you cook seriously, having great knife skills, along with very sharp knives, is a prerequisite.
Why bring this up? Because business has knife skills as well. OK, I can hear the cracks about stabbing people, etc. but stop being so literal. What I mean is the basic, underlying skills that are prerequisites if you’re going to have success and make what’s coming out of your kitchen better than what’s coming out of many others’.
In no particular order:
- The ability to read carefully and comprehend what it is you’re reading
- The ability to write well and convey meaning clearly
- The ability to listen
- The ability to keep an open mind
- The ability to keep calm and stay focused
Those are just the basics but without them you’re at a disadvantage. Sure, you can prep a great meal using a serrated steak knife and little else, but without knowing how one uses that inferior tool, I’m thinking you’d better have gas in the car and directions to the ER so those pesky fingers can get reattached.
I was always surprised how many interviews I’ve done over the years where it was painfully obvious the candidate lacked most of the above skills even if they had been working for years and had a decent resume. If you don’t have them, try and learn them or hire someone who does to be your personal chef.