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Maxims from Mike - Competence Matters!

Hello Leaders,

Welcome to Today. This week's Leadership and Personal Development blog is on Competence.

Maxim: Competence Matters!

Competence is the ability to do something effectively or efficiently. This is an ordinary definition for an ordinary person. I am asking you to be extraordinary... to be significantly above average... to be the best in your field. Competence has many synonyms. I'm asking you to embrace the following ones in bold: capability, ability, proficiency, accomplishment, expertise, adeptness, skill, prowess, mastery, talent, know-how. There are many people who are competent in their roles. Set yourself apart by defining competence as your ability to master the field you are in. This is not beyond you. It is within grasp if you are committed to being an expert and are willing to do the work to get there.

Competence breeds confidence. How strong would your organization be if everyone were competent in their field? Imagine the potential of your team. Envision your own potential.

Are you operating at peak performance? If you are bold enough to answer "yes", my answer to you is this: your peak tomorrow will require a higher level than your peak today. This requires being in a state of continuous growth in competence.

Once you master a particular area it is time to begin mastering another. For example, if you have mastered the sales cycle, begin mastering financial matters. Being able to speak about the critical success factors that concern your customers' top leaders will make you more valuable. Do you understand financial ratios and how your products and services impact your customers' ROA, ROE, quick ratio, cash conversion cycle, inventory turnover, etc.? Addressing what's important to the C-suite helps you to become a trusted advisor.

Marketeers who have mastered marketing would do well to master business history. Learning how to spot trends from past successes and failures in the industry will help you know when to enter and exit a particular market. Students working on their degree should be all in regarding their particular line of study. You do not diversify your core until you have mastered your chosen field. It's good to know about other disciplines. Just make sure you are focused in one area first. Study it. Learn it. Apply it. Master it!

James Kouzes and Barry Posner have over 30 years of research in leadership. They would tell you great leaders model the way. Others can follow because these exemplary leaders are highly competent in their fields. This reminds me of one of my favorite Bible passages. "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:9 NIV) Paul wrote these words to the church in Philippi. He modeled the way. He was a very competent disciple of Christ. As such, he encouraged the people to follow his example. This is where you can be... modeling the way and having others follow you as you follow great leaders.

Competence is essential. But it's a companion trait to character and conviction. You need all three. So, how do you become more competent? Consider these 5 quick tips.

  1. Commit to learning all you can about your field (formal & informal classes, seminars, reading, experimentation, mentors, colleagues, etc.)

  2. Take on tough impactful assignments (become known as the go-to person who is not afraid of difficult work. Ask for help when needed.)

  3. Teach a class in your particular field (the more you teach it the more you will master it.)

  4. Think things through and share your thoughts in meetings (a great question to ask your colleagues or leaders is, "Have you considered...?")

  5. Make sure you are working in the field of your calling (it is easier to give your best and become the best when you are operating in your zest (zeal, passion, etc.)

Brian Tracy said, "The future belongs to the competent. Get Good, Get Better, Be the Best." Notice the progression. Start off by being good at what you do (perhaps up to 50% of the population). Then get better at it (~top 20%). Now become the best (~top 5%). Be intentional about being the best. This does not mean bringing others down so that you can rise. It means joining the ranks of the very best in your field. There is room at the top. I believe there is a space with your name on it. Discipline yourself to do the work to get there.

Are you ready for more success? It's yours. Claim it. Join the top 5%. Decide now you will become a major difference maker in your organization. You will become the go-to person. Competence matters! If you need help in this area, please contact me. Let me help bring out the best in you and/or your organization.

That's it for now. Until the next tip....

Mike Nwankwo

Founder & CEO

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