The Top 3 Skills Everyone Is Looking for at the End of Q1


The first quarter of 2024 is now in the books. From a value creation perspective, the S&P index has grown by about 10% and the Dow Jones Index by about 6%. This strong and steady growth has occurred in the face of continued volatility coming from socio-economic issues, inflation, thebusiness-acumen-q1 unemployment rate, weather conditions, and world population health factors.

One of the most important pieces of research Advantexe continually seeks is information gathered from our Training and Development clients to understand what skills they are looking to develop for the rest of the year and beyond.

Based on our continued conversations and surveys in Q1, 2024, the top three skills large, global organizations are seeking to develop are:

  • Collaboration
  • Business Acumen
  • Leading a Culture of Innovation

What has been interesting to discover is the consistency of both the definition and focus on these specific skills they are seeking to solve. That hasn’t always been the case. For example, a year ago the most important skill companies were looking to develop was providing feedback as a form of coaching. What many found out was there is no one definite and easy definition or methodology for teaching how to give effective feedback. Here at Advantexe, we implemented several major Coaching & Feedback simulations, and they are all growing into the 2nd and 3rd year of implementation which means immersive, practice-based learning is one of the only ways to teach those skills.

Defining the Needed Skills of 2024

Below, I will take a few moments to share the definitions and critical, must-have components of the skills that many companies are looking for. I was surprised by the very practical nature of what is needed.


Collaboration skills refer to the ability to effectively work with others towards the achievement of SMART goals and objectives. These skills are essential when teams and individual contributors must interact, communicate, and cooperate with others to achieve success. Here are 3 key components of collaboration skills:

  • Trust: Building trust within an organization and among a team through consistent and reliable behaviors is critical for developing a supportive and productive collaborative environment.
  • Communication: Clear and specific communication is also critical for successful collaboration. This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening, and the ability to express ideas effectively and with innovation.
  • Problem-solving: Collaborative problem-solving involves analyzing challenges, brainstorming solutions collectively, and implementing effective strategies to overcome obstacles. This often requires creativity, critical thinking, and the ability to consider multiple viewpoints.

Business Acumen

Some companies are now referring to this as “commercial acumen.” A majority of the clients I spoke with are in industries that are science, technology, and information-driven and the really smart people that are driving the business don’t have any business acumen to make key decisions. For example, the most popular Advantexe program we run is Business Acumen for Pharmaceutical R&D leaders. Here are three components of Business Acumen.

  • Strategic Thinking: The ability to understand, set, and execute strategy. It requires the skills to understand markets, customers, and competitors and then take that information and turn it into a unique value proposition to customers.
  • Financial Acuity: The ability to read financial statements, conduct financial analysis, and make both short- and long-term decisions based on the interpretation of the analysis.
  • Awareness Creation and Sales Excellence: The ability to understand the complete commercial cycle from creating awareness to branding to developing new business to managing existing business, and creating long-term, profitable customers that build a lifetime value or revenue and margin.

Leading a Culture of Innovation

Building a culture of innovation requires developing an environment that encourages creativity, experimentation, continuous improvement, and embracing failure by moving forward fast. Here are three key skills needed to cultivate such a culture:

  • Brainstorming and Creativity: Teams and Individual contributors should be encouraged to come up with and think creatively to generate new ideas. This involves the ability to challenge the way things are done now, think outside the box, question assumptions, and explore unconventional solutions to problems.
  • Vision: This skill relates directly to the Business Acumen skill of Strategic Thinking. It is having a clear vision of where the organization wants to go and how innovation aligns with overarching goals and objectives. Having and understanding the vision enables teams and individual contributors to prioritize initiatives and allocate resources effectively.
  • Risk-taking and Resilience: Encouraging a willingness to take smart risks and learn from mistakes quickly. Building resilience helps individuals bounce back from setbacks and maintain momentum to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities.

In summary, these are very hard skills to develop. Hopefully, I have provided some insight into what they are and how developing them can benefit your organization, your people, and your customers. Happy Q2 everyone!

New Call-to-action



Robert Brodo

About The Author

Robert Brodo is co-founder of Advantexe. He has more than 20 years of training and business simulation experience.