Given the turmoil we have all experienced in our business life it is time to pause for breath and consider these questions:

  1. Do we have skills we don’t use?
  2. Do we have skills we should tune down, deploy less?
  3. Do we have skills we should tune up, deploy more?
  4. Do we need to acquire new skills quickly?

As a team leader, project manager, a business manager, how many times have we been surprised by a member of our team over-delivering. Perhaps showing tenacity, initiative, an element of steel, an equanimity, a sense of humor. Perhaps it has taken a specific catalyst, a specific stressful situation to bring it to the surface. We study our heroes, sporting, Arts, business, philanthropy whatever the area and we wonder at their skill, composure, dedication, their special DNA. Are we capable of being heroes? Are we capable of  a self assessment and changing our patterns of behavior. Of course we are. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, highlights just how lucky, Bill Gates, The Beatles and some youth Canadian ice hockey stars were, in achieving great success. There was considerable luck that brought unique talent to the surface and allowed it to flourish.

Why wait for the stars to align – give yourself an audit and consider how you could transform your performance (in a fun, non painful way). So let’s dig deeper into those questions:

1. Do we have skills we don’t use?

  • You have passion for golf, baseball, gadgets, your family but the office has become soulless, a grind. Find your reasons for turning your vocation into something that matters.
    A volunteer graduate working on stuffing flyers into envelopes for the Liberal Democrats in the recent UK elections – was asked why bother? – Because he said, 1 in 10 people reading this flyer might turn up and vote and a percentage of those might vote Lib Dems and if that is enough to win our marginal seat that then might impact the next government! Find a reason to be passionate about what you do or move to something that you can be passionate about.

2. Do we have skills we should tune down, deploy less?

  • He is brilliant at Excel spreadsheets, she is marvelous at PowerPoint presentations, she is so funny, or perhaps he is so direct, there is not a wasted word when dealing with him.
    He is a brilliant developer, never seen anyone code like him, not sure he could mentor anyone though. It’s great to have skills you can use in a work environment.
    However I’m asking the question of you – are you filling your day with comfort stuff, limiting your effectiveness to get so much more done. You probably have so much more to offer your enterprise. Consider tuning down those amazing skills a little and perhaps pushing yourself into new areas, broadening your influence.

3. Do we have skills we should tune up, deploy more?

We are all blessed with a collection of skills, some we haven’t used for a while and some we have forgotten we have. Consider these skills that enterprises need their staff to execute:

  • Teaching and mentoring
  • Praise and feedback
  • Politeness
  • Great telephone manner but uses email
  • Project management
  • Public speaking

Have you used these skills recently, and if not, why not?

4. Do we need to acquire new skills quickly?

I believe all senior staff need to acquire these skills quickly:

  • Understand the economics of your business and the web, Google, and social media
  • Be a great communicator both written and oral
  • Ability to simplify complex ideas into plain English
  • Ability to listen
  • Understand basic finance and the anatomy of a business

Don’t wait for a crisis or a collection of lucky events to stimulate change – self analyze and identify how to have more fun and be more effective at work by transforming your your own skill sets.

Comments welcome.