Is it time to improve your skills again?
By Kevin D. Crone
Mark Twain was once asked, "Do you think it will stop raining?" He quickly responded, "Always has." He could have given the same answer to a lot of questions such as, "Do you think the world has changed? Do you think our customers' needs/motives changed? Will those who adapt well to change be the most successful?"
Answer: "Always has."
As my friend and author, Byron (Bud) Thompson says, "2010 feels like we are a stranger in a strange land." The world is more competitive and the very things like our processes, and skills that we always counted on are being questioned. We're definitely over inundated with information that can lead to paralysis, then we're not sure what to do.
Questions for this week:
- How do we adapt in this strange over-competitive, complex world?
- How do we make things simple and clear?
- How do we show up as the change?
- How do we make the changes work?
According to Malcolm Gladwell, a very successful Canadian writer (the Outliers), achievers invest a minimum of 10,000 hours of focused practice to develop their skills. My friend Stu Scott and my early business mentor said as a guest presenter in one of our monthly Teleconference Strategy Coffee Huddles, "Most people stop developing their skills in school and then whine and complain when they are downsized during a recession."
Improving your skills is what causes you to see the world differently and increases your worth to your business.
Did you notice that Malcolm and Stu used the words practice and skills? Too often we think that knowing something means we are good at something and as a result they are not as good as they think they are. Even having a consultant or business coach to help you strategize and hold you accountable, doesn't necessarily give you the practice that it takes to build skills. Again knowledge and strategies, even though important, are not skills. Experiencing and doing things along with a coach over and over until the practice produces successful repeated behaviour is what skills are about. Of course, knowing what to do to adapt to what the business needs is important. Successful people do things they should do and they do it well (skills). They take coaching and put in the hours of practice. My experience has been that unsuccessful people don't see a need for practice and are oblivious to their need to get better.
How about you? Is it time to improve your skills again?
You and I need to improve our performance and that's not an ego slam. We always need to improve, that's how pros are. We can't be stuck in comfort zones and be over-worried about risk, how we look or analyze everything to death before we act. We are either good, getting better or innocent of reality and have no fire in the belly to begin to get better. Regardless of how over-worked we feel or our lack of resources, we need to push ourselves into learning experiences and practice what we need to be better at, whether you have white hair or are 21 years old.
I talked to Jesse Hawthorne from Jeld-Wen Canada. His group has 50% of the market he serves and he says one of the reasons is his team has a restless dissatisfaction. They are never satisfied with the end result - they are never good enough. His team is always improving their capacity to serve by building their skills.
What skills do you need to develop? I'm not sure but let me dramatize through humour, one skill that I see is almost forgotten in today's world.
A couple married for sixty years were sitting in their living room one evening. Charlie, smoking his pipe and reading his paper, looked over at his wife. He thought about what a perfect mate she'd been, working alongside him through the good times and bad. He remembered how in those early years, when the going was really tough, she was somehow always able to put a good meal on the table. She was able, by sewing and mending, to make his clothes last. As he was thinking about her and how wonderful she was, he was struck with a sickening, stifling wave of remorse, because he couldn't remember once in those sixty years when he had ever given her any real appreciation. So with a tear in his eye he looked across the room and said,
"I'm proud of you, Maud."
Now with the passing of over three quarters of a century, her hearing wasn't what it used to be, so she replied, "What'd you say, Paw?"
He cranked up the volume and repeated, "I said, I'm proud of you, Maud!"
She still couldn't understand him and said irritably, "What'd you say, Paw? Speak up."
Now with a note of righteous indignation in his voice he shouted, "I said I'm proud of you."
She looked at him sadly and said, "Yes, I'm tired of you too."
[Source: Build Your Dream, by Byron Thompson]
Funny... but not funny!
Communication will always be the toughest issue we have. We live with a lot of issues that could be solved with better communication. Yet we always seem to find that out after the fact and we all think we're good at it. Relationships at home, turnover, clients leaving us, not matching up with the markets - it's even rampant in family businesses, where blood is thicker than water and of course it's in non-profits and government.
Loyalty, engagement, productivity and performance are always a positive result from effective communication.
What are you living with because of a lack of common understanding and genuine commitment on both sides? Isn't it time to get better at your biggest issue? To understand your markets, your people or co-workers, get inside the wants, needs and motives and move forward - effective communication skills are needed. We need to listen extremely well, present with passion and impact, and use people skills beyond the average person. You and I will never master communications; we can only get better at it. To achieve significant results through others, we do need focus on it.
Just yesterday, I heard Warren Buffet speak on CNBC that the ability to sit across from people or in a group, and motivate or cause action, is more important than being smart. Click here to listen.
1. Where do you need to get better?
2. Where can you get the practice time with a skilled coach?
3. When are you going to take action on your plan or structure to build your skills?
Re-posted with written permission by the author:
K.D. Crone - Canada's Monday Morning Mentor
All Kevin ever wanted to do since he was 21 was to help Canadian businesses and their people succeed. He is the National CEO of a world class brand, Dale Carnegie Business Group, and every Monday gives complimentary advice on designing and structuring your business so that it wins. And how to engage, connect and build your team so that you can execute your aspirations and find and keep customers to make lots of money.
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