Strategies for Building Competencies.

KITSAP COUNTY——You need to follow a multi-pronged approach to build competencies. But here is the rub. You can opt to learn a multitude of competencies all at once only to realize that you may have gained mastery in none. Alternatively, you may choose to focus on attaining knowledge in one competency at a time, moving slowly but steadily.

A (Growth) Mindset: In a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world, competency comes with an expiry date. Therefore, the advantage rests with people who opt for being lifelong learners. They believe that no matter how much they know; they need to learn more. This hunger for learning ensures that they keep on acquiring competencies that will keep them relevant and useful.

This mindset is popularly referred to as the ‘growth’ mindset. We practice the growth mindset by following the 1 percent rule: every day; we strive to be 1 percent better than yesterday. For that, every day, we set aside a minimum of one hour every weekday, or five hours a week, for deliberate learning. This is popularly called the five-hour rule. It is followed by Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates.

If you too follow this rule diligently, then in due course, the law of compounding will set in, and you will realize that you have accumulated a treasure trove of knowledge. It will give you the confidence to thrive in the VUCA world.

In contrast, the ‘fixed’ mindset tries to get people to believe that I know it all’ and there is no further need to acquire new competencies. This mindset can prove to be fatal. Shun it.

A (Growth) Mindset

Using Time Wisely: Get comfortable saying ‘no’ to many demands on your time. This will free up your time, and you can focus on things that matter. Next, put the Time that you have saved to fair use.

To understand the value of Time, seek inspiration from Warren Buffet. He was once asked if there is anything money cannot buy. He replied, ‘Time!’ What is right for Bill Gates is true for you. Learn to spend your time wisely to build competencies.

Digital Strategy: It involves:

Video strategy: Curate a list of videos you wish to watch on YouTube, be it TED Talks or other videos. Be on guard that you do not fall victim to binge-watching of content that will merely entertain you.

Social media strategy: Craft a robust social media strategy in which Linkedln figures prominently. Remember, social media can be addictive. If you are not disciplined, you can end up wasting precious time.

Reading strategy:

  1. Buy books on Kindle that will keep you ahead.
  2. Carry your Kindle with you and immerse yourself in it whenever you find the time.
  3. Download more books than you can finish!

Surrounding yourself with reading material in whichever manner is an excellent way to push yourself to read.

Reading strategy

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) strategy.

Sign up for online courses that will help you proactively build competency. Sign up for more classes than you can complete.

Seminars and training programs: Make an annual plan of the seminars and training programs you plan to attend. Also, become a member of your industry’s professional bodies and make a conscious effort to network and gain insights about your industry.

Reverse mentoring: You invite young people with whom you are associated—your students, younger people in the organizations, and county—to teach you new competencies, mainly digital competencies. We must admit that we have gained enormously. You, too, should embrace reverse mentoring.

Get a coach: Change is hard. A good coach can be of great help. They do not guide, nor lead, nor push, or nor pull. They will pose excellent questions that can challenge you and also keep you on course.

The company you keep: Strive to be in the company of people more knowledgeable than you. In their company, be an active listener and observer. In the process, you will be putting the law of entropy into play. The law states that heat transfers from hot to cold; in your case, knowledge, and wisdom will get transferred from them to you.

The company you keep

Diversity index: Make a conscious effort to meet people from diverse professions and backgrounds and those who hold views contrary to yours. This ensures that you are constantly challenged. It will help you be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, so you get a chance to be more creative since you are exposed to so many different ideas and viewpoints.

Willingness to kill your darlings: If you find that an idea that you strongly believed in has outlived its utility or is not delivering results, you have no hesitation in ‘killing’ it. The ability to kill your darling is a crucial skill you should cultivate.

Learn from mistakes: ‘Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose,’ observed Bill Gates. Failure, on the other hand, is a great teacher. Learn from it. And make sure you do not commit the same mistake again. Remember to learn from the mistakes of others too. After all, life is too short of making all the mistakes! 

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