What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.
Developing New Capabilities
In this rapidly changing world, the need to quickly unlearn, learn and relearn is a critical skill for survival. As conditions in the world, your business and personal life churn and change, the people who change and adapt will have an enormous advantage over those who choose the status quo.
Someone has said that the definition of insanity is ”expecting better and better results while continuing to do the same old things in the same old way.”
As you move relentlessly toward the vision of your “preferred future”, you will need to create new capabilities along the way. New capabilities for success. Capabilities that will empower you to be the top performer you intend to be. You must not wait till you arrive three years in the future and then realize you should have learned to be a top-notch communicator, an outstanding negotiator or a high producing salesperson.
This article focuses on identifying where you are now and creating new personal capabilities that will propel you toward your goals faster and easier than before.
First, let’s “ASK” about the three categories of personal capabilities…
These are sets of feelings, values and beliefs that cause us to respond positively or negatively to certain situations, ideas or people.
Attitudes are the foundation upon which “will-do” behaviors are built. Your attitudes determine your picture of the world and your place in it. A positive attitude brings a world ripe with opportunity into focus.
Your own vision is powerful, though intangible in quality, and as such is considered a “will-do” factor. These factors make it possible for a bricklayer to see himself building a cathedral rather than merely laying bricks.
On the other hand, negative attitudes are self-defeating, drag us down and make the world seem dull and threatening. Attitudes not only affect the way we see things but the way we behave. It is very hard to behave in a way that is inconsistent with our attitudes.
Examples: “I never seem to get a break ”
“People are out to take advantage of me.”
“I’m too old (young) for that.”
Positive attitudes usually produce positive results. When you face new challenges with a positive attitude, you are bound to achieve results that allow you to improve your skills and make huge gains in your life.
Examples: “There is always a way”
“The past does not equal the future”
“Every day is a new and better day”
The dictionary defines a skill as “proficiency or technical ability in an area demonstrated by ease or expertness in performance.” This is the part about being able to DO something well and get the desired results! Some examples of business skills are: (There are many more)
- strategic planning
- financial management
Each of these areas requires real-world action coupled with adequate working knowledge. It is not thinking or feeling but doing.
Personal skills such as:
- decision making
- influencing and persuading
- time management
- problem solving
are also critical to success. Notice how many of these personal skills support business skills. For example, if you are a good active listener you will be a much more effective salesperson.
Improving your business or personal life requires asking the question, “If I am to arrive successfully at this new destination (the vision) within three years, what new skills will I need and which of my existing skills need to be improved or upgraded?
If skill involves the “doing” or “how to”, then knowledge contains the “what to” and “why to”. It is information that is understood through experience and ready for application. Combined with high skill levels, positive attitudes and ambition, knowledge is the raw material of success. Without the other critical components though, knowledge is just so much cocktail party conversation.
Whereas information is readily available from libraries, knowledge is either self-generated or transferred from person to person. Seeking out experts in your field of interest and learning directly from them is one of the shortcuts to developing knowledge of your own.
The old saying, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ has taken on a new meaning in this era of specialization and intense competition. The sheer amount of information being generated and disseminated around the world will relegate the casual learner to the sidelines in the game of business in a very short period of time.
An example of a critical new Knowledge capability is knowing more about your product, service, or specialty than your competitors. A salesperson can be a great communicator, superb influencer, be able to uncover needs and get commitment, but without thorough, up-to-date product knowledge, is at a severe disadvantage.
Another salesperson may know the product intimately and be able to recite features and benefits in their sleep, but be ineffective without the knowledge of the sales process and its application.
When you focus on updating and refining your Attitude, Skills and Habits, you significantly increase your likelihood of achieving your preferred future.
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