How to Identify What Skills You Are Lacking at Work

In an increasingly competitive world, there is no such thing as standing still. But how do you know or validate what skills gap you are lacking? ROYSTON GUEST explains …

Each and every one of us owns our own performance through the conscious choices we make, coupled with an attitude of constant curiosity for learning. A great scene in a movie called The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock, reinforces the importance of this point. In the scene, she is dropping her birth son and adopted son at the school gates, and her parting words to them both are; ‘Have fun and learn something new today’. Now, while the ‘have fun…’ part is important, it’s the second part that really struck me as central to success: ‘…learn something new today’.

Sometimes, particularly as adults, we slip into the trap of complacency, operating in a state of unconsciousness where it feels like we are just going through the motions. It’s the day you slip into a place that I call ‘the groove or the grave’ – no man’s land. It’s the day you accept your place in the world of mediocrity where just enough is good enough. It’s the day when you lose your edge and stop being your best self.

In an increasingly competitive world, there is no such thing as standing still. All around you, people are actively moving forwards and standing still really means you’re falling behind. But how do you know or validate what skills gap you are lacking at work? Using the performance framework below will help you assess your performance in your current role combined with your longer-term potential for future roles and promotions.

In terms of PERFORMANCE in your current role, the WHAT is about whether you functionally can get the job done and how well you do it, and the HOW is whether you are living the company values by demonstrating the right behaviours, and being a role model for your colleagues.

Are there ‘WHAT’ elements in your current role that you struggle with or avoid doing because you either simply don’t know how to do it or haven’t the confidence to do it? Are there company values and behaviours which don’t align with your own? Take note, this could either be a gap or a misalignment of values which will be harder to close. Values are deep rooted and if the values of the company you work with don’t align with your own, you may have to accept these or move on.

In terms of POTENTIAL, CAPABILITY is about whether you are able to grow at the required pace. Some people reach a ceiling in terms of their capability, where others continue to stretch and grow. ASPIRATIONS, on the other hand, refers to whether you have the desire and will to want to grow, to better yourself and fast track your career. Having the will or desire or not, as the case may be, is neither right nor wrong, it’s about what’s right for you.

If you’re on the fast-track for the next big promotion but don’t actually want it, why invest your time in developing yourself for it? Similarly, if you want to be considered for the next promotion, what skill set do you need to focus on, so that your name is on the table as a potential candidate?

Mapping out the WHAT and HOW against your current performance, and your capability and aspirations against your potential, will give you a clear picture of where your developmental efforts should be applied, where your potentiality lies, and where your gaps are.

You need to take stock of where your opportunities and challenges are today so that you have a clear line of sight as to where you direct your energies tomorrow, and the day after!

Royston Guest is a leading authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. Entrepreneur, author of #1 best-seller Built to Grow and new book RISE: Start living the life you were meant to lead.

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