DL Wallace on Boosting Soft Skills through Success Training Institute

PARTNER CONTENT By APG

PUBLISHED: February 15, 2024
DL Wallace founder of Success Training Institute

Human beings are not born with the knowledge of how to dismantle a car engine, decipher a particular line of data or voice multiple languages. These are hard skills we are taught. However, for students entering the workforce, it’s becoming increasingly clear that cultivating soft skills should be a priority to advance in their careers.

Are soft skills truly the key ingredient to gaining a competitive advantage? Many leaders agree that these qualities—formerly seen as unmeasurable, unteachable and unimportant—are not so “soft” after all.

DL Wallace—an entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of the Success Training Institute—believes it’s due time we start expanding education and workplace training to cover these relevant attributes, tools and traits. After all, soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving and time management, are essential to living a good life, creating a good community, having meaningful employment and integrating with team members.

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, leaders from all fields are increasingly on the lookout for individuals who possess a combination of both technical and interpersonal skills. A survey conducted by McKinsey in 2021 showed the majority of skills that companies want to develop fall under the “social and emotional” and “advanced cognitive” categories. It also reported that more than half of organizations are prioritizing skills in leadership and managing others, critical thinking and decision making as well as project management.

“Soft skills integrate healthy interpersonal habits, and that’s what differentiates them from any other skill on the planet,” Wallace says. The founder has witnessed the significance of soft skills in achieving professional success and satisfaction throughout his career. Recognizing that these valuable competencies should be encouraged, Wallace—following a short break after his early retirement at age 32—eagerly returned to his early passion for developing people to build great business enterprises.

“No one wants to go home and feel like they’re not winning because they are not performing at their optimum level,” Wallace says. “I then decided to commit a renewed energy to help people find true interpersonal success—the No. 1 epidemic in our country that’s not discussed enough, in my opinion.”

The entrepreneur, fascinated by technology, went on to create the Success Training Institute, an online professional development platform that provides practical soft skills training for the new millennium—all coming from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

“I wanted to bridge the gap for business-minded professionals with on-demand training that produced desired results,” Wallace says. “Now people can gain certifications that boost their social, emotional and workplace competencies that lead to stronger resumes, earnings potential, entrepreneurial opportunities.”

According to the founder, his company offers training solutions in over 25 states and engages in philanthropic efforts—including a $10 million investment in Title One schools and partnerships with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)—making the positive, sustainable impact of his efforts far-reaching.

“Our model is so great because we’ve listened to people in the trenches with students, employees and diverse groups every day,” Wallace says. “And we’ve gotten feedback from them, so our model has evolved over the years just because we’ve been able to listen and implement solutions that improve emotional intelligence.”

The founder adds that every customized training platform includes pre- and post-assessments, individualized learning plans and proprietary lessons that are in power-packed segments of eight minutes or less in duration.

In addition to its work with clients, Success Training Institute hosts a virtual mentoring program for its staff, offering each employee and intern free soft skills training as well as a coach to monitor and support their process. Wallace and his team have also created a philanthropic arm of the company called the Global Success Initiative, which allows for free soft skills courses to be donated to schools and community groups every time a paying customer completes a course.

The domino effect Wallace hopes for through his work is that as individuals learn how to effectively implement soft skills, the whole world will become better. He believes by emphasizing soft skills training, colleges and universities as well as employers can empower those within their ecosystem to be not only great employees, but also happy individuals with improved mental health.

Looking forward to the next 10 years, the Success Training Institute aims to expand to all the HBCUs and smaller private institutions across the country and leverage its offerings to enhance any enterprise looking to upskill, empower and elevate its employees.

“It is spreading like wildfire,” Wallace says. “People have recognized that if we work together and focus on developing individual soft skills, we can change the world together.”

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