The Importance of Power Skills for Salesforce Professionals



In tech, we often talk about soft skills, but the terminology I would use is power skills: durable skills that are robust enough to carry you through evolving technologies or priority changes.  

And I use the word power because these are the things that make a huge difference. I see these skills as the biggest priorities in Salesforce today. Learning something technical like Salesforce is often the easiest thing to do—learning how to use it effectively is where power skills come in.  

These competencies like continual learning, agility, critical decision-making, and resilience are vital in a world where technology like generative AI is changing everything. The future of work is here, and both employers and employees have to embrace it. 

No one really knows what technology is going to look like tomorrow, so adaptability is critical. Security for specific roles is at its lowest level in quite some time. Slowly and surely, our jobs are changing and evolving, but you can get ahead of that by being able to adapt to change and continually learning new skills.  

Applying that learning and understanding its impact through critical decision-making is another skill we all need and can be the difference between a project succeeding or failing. We often point to the lack of technical disciplines in a team, but most of the time the reason a project doesn’t work is because people make poor decisions. Making good choices requires good design skills. 

The final really important power skill is resilience. We all think we’re resilient, but I see the difference between people who’ve dealt with adversity, stress, and challenges in their lives and how they apply that resilience to their work. For example, refugees or people who’ve been forcibly displaced have incredible resilience, and that shows in various ways. 

How can professionals develop these skills?  

Firstly, keep the 70:20:10 model in mind. A lot of skill development comes simply through working and the application of those skills in your day-to-day responsibilities. Your power skill muscles get stronger the more you use them. That’s your 70%. 

But it actually goes beyond on-the-job skills because power skills come from everywhere in our lives. At Salesforce, we’re working with refugees, veterans, and parents, and those kinds of experiences give you lots of power skills. 

Being a parent, for example, is hard work in itself. Often, parents returning to work won’t think to sell the fact that they’ve just managed a family. Parents who’ve dealt with stress and challenges at home develop good, solid power skills that they can bring into the workplace. 

And 20% you’ll achieve through mentoring and coaching. There are tools to help you connect with mentor figures but the most important thing is having people in your life that help you evolve and develop these skills over time.  

The 10% comes through self-directed learning. There’s tonnes of stuff on Trailhead that covers these different power skills, and you can apply them and develop them with personal projects or events like hackathons. You need a lot of resilience to get through those sorts of things. 

The most striking thing is the live application of power skills in the interview itself. Being confident enough to deal with pushbacks and challenges and being resilient to questioning always impresses me.  

The power skills that go under the radar and the benefits of honing them 

The most underrated competencies that people don’t think of as strengths are agility, resilience, and design. All power skills are underrated by far too many organizations, as well as by the candidates that possess them.  

How many people put “5–10 years’ experience” as a Salesforce developer on their resume without actually defining what that means? Why is that important? The technology has changed so much in ten years that this information can often be irrelevant.  

But ten years of experience fighting for the development of Salesforce projects using agility, resilience, and project management? That shows me that not only are you technically qualified to do the job, but you can get it done and survive the knocks along the way. 

With the speed of change in our world today, if you’re relying solely on the schoolwork you did in the past or the university degree that you have, I don’t know how you’ve been successful. 

Professionally developing yourself in a time of dramatic change is absolutely critical to surviving the transitions that we’re going through. At the moment, artificial intelligence coming into the workplace is going to dramatically change jobs and the need to do certain tasks. 

With Salesforce, for example, we can save about 50% of developer time. And we’re already nearly there. So what, then, does the role of a developer look like now and in the near future? It’ll change dramatically and while there will always be a need for people who can develop technologies and software, you need to develop yourself to be able to take advantage of AI tools, or you’re going to be left behind. 

In the next five to ten years, this is all going to accelerate. The amount of job displacement that will happen will be huge, and it will, unfortunately, lead to far too many redundancies if people do not invest in their professional development now in order to keep up. 

Complementing your tech prowess  

The technical skills arc and the power skills arc are interrelated. And it’s through the application of those power skills that they both develop. For example, a professional should learn agility and invest in building decision-making skills in the context of their Salesforce work. Don’t think of it as separate: take a resilience course and think about how you’re going to apply it to your work projects. You’ve got to work those power skills into what you’re doing on a daily basis. By building resilience into an agile team, you can get better and faster at your delivery.  

Try to think of examples as you study agility or resilience. Where did you see those skills in play in a project? Where could you have applied them in hindsight? It’s often easy to think of power skills as something more personal and forget to apply them in the workplace. 

The what, why, and how of presenting an achievement are also really critical here. What I look for is a candidate who can describe something that they’ve either been part of or have led and achieved themselves. From the technical deliverable and why it was important, to the power skills they used.  

For example, we delivered a new experience for customers using Experience Cloud that looked like this. It was important to our business because we needed to improve customer satisfaction, and it was delivered through good agile disciplines like having a weekly decision-making forum, leveraging design, and using sprints. 

Getting started 

Weave it all together: outline the achievement through the what, why, how, and the power skills you used.  It’s not easy, but we all need to acknowledge that every human being has their own power skills. We underappreciate them, we don’t prioritize them enough, and we need to develop better ways of recognizing them in candidates because our world needs them. The impact of generative AI and those sorts of tools makes this even more important today than it was just six months ago. We can see the displacement coming, and we need to be on it. 

Mason Frank's Salesforce
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