The “7 Survival Skills” – Collaboration Across Networks & Leading by Influence

The “7 Survival Skills[1],” established by Tony Wagner, contribute to your success at Sheridan College, in your career. These blogs posts are dedicated to explaining how you can gain these skills in and outside the classroom, how they may be positioned as interview questions, and tips on how to effectively respond. Click here to start at the beginning.

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What is it?

Collaboration is working with others to produce an idea, project, product, policy, procedure, venture, etc.

Leading by Influence is leading a group of people by encouraging them to work and achieve their best, rather than giving commands. Leading by influence attracts and produces other leaders, and encourages creativity and entrepreneurship.

Networking is interacting with other people to exchange information, develop contacts, and to further one’s career.

In the Classroom

Collaboration most often occurs during group assignments working with your colleagues to complete a given task within a given time frame. Leadership may also occur during group projects, as someone may take the lead to delegate tasks and encourage the group to achieve the best it can. Leadership may also be apparent in the way you offer to answer questions, or lead the group in a class discussion, or encourage others to put forth their ideas. Collaboration can also occur during class discussions to work through a case study given by your professor in small groups.

Networking in the classroom begins the very first day of class in any program, and continues until the day you graduate. In the future, these contacts will become a valuable resource. It is also important to network with faculty. Ask your professor questions about their work experiences and how successfully build out their networks.

Outside the Classroom

Collaboration and Leadership: Clubs and competitions can provide you with an opportunity to work with your peers on a project or case study. By encouraging your fellow team members, and leading by example, you are working toward their leadership goals as well.

Collaboration/Leadership opportunity: Pilon School of Business Case Competition 

Collaboration club opportunity: Sheridan Comic Con

Networking: By joining a new club, or just asking a club member about the club itself, is a form of networking. This could also grant you access to professionals in your field.

Networking opportunity: Virox Future Forum March 11th, 2016

Sheridan Accounting Student Association President Nathalie Marie Roa Laureano states that it is important to be open and collaborate with team members to discuss conflicts and suggestions for improvement. The SASA provides members an opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow Accounting students, Sheridan graduates, and CPA professionals to develop skills and gain necessary knowledge. The SASA also provides you with the opportunity to take leadership roles, especially in the Executive positions, says Nathalie, as they require the students to plan, organize, direct, facilitate and lead by example. Nathalie’s overall goal for the club is to help students develop key skills including interpersonal, leadership, problem solving, time management, and creativity, all of which are embedded within the “7 Survival Skills.”

Possible Interview Questions

  • What experience do you have building corporate, campus, or community connections/networks?
  • How do you go about generating connections and networks with other professionals?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked in a team for a school or work project. What role did you usually take and how did you contribute to the overall goals of the projects?
  • Describe an important project where you had to organize a group of people in order to achieve the expected results.
  • Describe a team initiative you have worked on where you felt the team was not working collaboratively.
  • Tell me about a time when working on a team that you found was rewarding.
  • Tell me about a time you were a member of the team and how you contributed positively to it.
  • Tell us about an idea you started that involved collaboration with your colleagues that improved the delivery of a project.

How to Answer

1.Similar to Critical Thinking & Problem Solvingprovide the interviewer with a step by step description of the situation, the problem/the project, the outcome, what you would do differently, and how you knew it was successful.

2.Be aware of the skills  required in the Job Description. If the job is looking for a Leader, make sure you answer the questions with “I”, instead of “we” when describing accomplishments. If the job requires strong Networking skills, demonstrate those soft skills in the way you interact with the interviewer when you meet them.

3.When interviewers ask a questions that requires you to describe a negative experience, find a way to make it into a positive situation. This shows that you have analyzed the situation, you have learned from the experience, and are able to manage difficult situations and conflict.

  • For example. “Tell me about a time when working on a group project you had to deal with “time wasters”? What did you do?” This is an opportunity to present your leading by influence skills:
    • Describe the situation: the project, what it was for, etc.
    • Describe the challenges and how you as a group and/or individually overcame  them.
    • Describe the measures you took to encourage everyone to work their hardest, and how you demonstrated the work ethic yourself.
    • If you approach was not successful, describe what you would do differently in the future.


Stay tuned for the next post: Agility and Adaptability

Previous: Critical Thinking

[1] Wagner, T. (2014). Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills. Retrieved from

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