Are you relevant? Do you consider yourself capable? Are you constantly striving to grow and stay involved in continuous education? If so, odds are you’d be credible for any new task that presents itself in your field. If not, you may need to reassess. According to Stephen M. R. Covey in The Speed of Trust, “The first dimension of competence is capabilities—the talents, skills, knowledge, capabilities, and abilities we have that enable us to perform with excellence.”
Capable people are credible. It’s that simple. For example, when you apply for a job the first thing the employer wants to see is your resume—to see if you possess the qualifications or capabilities of performing the tasks necessary for the position. Employers want to see that you have the ability to be disciplined, committed, and task-oriented. Another example of this is seen in the amount of trust we place in children based on their accomplishments.
When a child learns to play an instrument, gets stellar grades in school, excels in sports, or some other area of expertise, we tend to label the child more “responsible” or “trustworthy.” When you demonstrate your desire or ability to develop and pursue new skills, this shows others your capabilities. People who are not willing to continuously evolve and learn new skills don’t have the tools to succeed in a new position or situation.
However, skills aren’t the only prerequisite to maintain relevancy amongst other professionals, you have to have the Core 3: Integrity, Intent, and Results. For example, you might have tremendous potential but consistently fail to generate results. Therefore it stays just that, potential. Or you may achieve results, but through unworthy goals or means. These people may produce success, but they won’t build credibility or trust. All three cores are vital to relevancy.
Here are some insightful strategies to assess your capabilities and ensure you maintain your relevancy.
According to The Speed of Trust, “One way you can think about the various dimensions of capabilities is to use the acronym ‘TASKS.’”
“TASKS” is a strategic way to assess your abilities, capabilities, and skills. This process helps align your tasks accordingly to achieve your goals and maintain prevalence in your industry.
These all make up our capabilities. They produce results. By breaking them down, we can fully explore and independently assess our abilities and the tools we need to improve on.
“Talents” means skills that come to us naturally. Some people can speak in public, sing, or lead teams, while others may find those skills too difficult. However, sometimes our talents aren’t as obvious. We may have talents within us that we don’t even know we have.
Oftentimes, we limit our abilities by our lack of experience. How can you discover new talents if you never try anything new? Our natural abilities tend to reveal themselves when we navigate new or under-explored pursuits. This could mean a new job, a new hobby, or taking a new approach when faced with tasks. It often takes people a few tries before they land on their passion, but that’s part of the process.
Going through a deep, introspective process of talent identification may reveal exciting and surprising new avenues to pursue. You might even ask those closest to you what they consider to be your most notable skills or talents. Once you’ve identified your talents, you now have the ability to nurture and increase your capabilities within them.
When assessing your attitudes, ask yourself:
What are my attitudes about work?
What are my attitudes about life?
What are my attitudes about learning?
What are my attitudes about myself and my capabilities?
Are there more productive attitudes I could practice to create better results?
Consider the paradigm shift you may experience if you changed your mindset from, “I have to go to work,” to, “I get to contribute my talents and skills to my practice and add value to others.” Or shift your narrative from, “My partner doesn’t meet my needs,” to, “what can I do to help my partner be happy and fulfilled?”
A positive attitude will completely shift your experience. As well as the difference these attitudes make in your own life, consider the difference it’ll make in your spouse, your children, or your co-workers. We all know people whose negativity makes them unbearable. Wouldn’t you think that being a positive influence would have the opposite impact?
Always surround yourself with people who are more talented, competent, and positive than you. Like Stephen M. R. Covey says, “It takes tremendous self trust to do this—a confidence born of high integrity, positive intent, and an attitude of continuous improvement—but the results are incomparable.”
NBA superstar LeBron James is a perfect example of the power of improving by continuous practice and honing to develop skills. While the average NBA player’s prime is in his 20’s and often rapidly declines, James is now in his mid-30’s and demonstrates rapid improvement as his career progresses. His commitment to improvement separates him from the pack, not just his natural talent.
LeBron demonstrates the kind of commitment to skill-building that is vital to success for all of us in today’s shifting economy. Unless you’re continually improving your skills, you’ll quickly become irrelevant.
One thing to be wary of is what Jim Collins refers to as the “curse of competence.” It’s the idea that sometimes we become good at things that we’re not actually talented in or passionate about. Stephen M. R. Covey says, “Your current skill-set may or may not correspond with your natural talents.” We need to make sure we practice skills corresponding with our talents, because at the end of the day, talent provides a deeper well than skills.
Like the infamous quote says, “Knowledge is power.” We all need knowledge to function in the information age. Without it, you’ll fall behind. One way to accelerate your rate of learning, both individually and organizationally, is to learn with the intent to teach others what you learn. Even better, actually teach it to someone else.
As Peter Drucker has observed, “Knowledge workers and service workers learn most when they teach.” By structuring opportunities and processes so that people can teach what they learn to others within the organization or group, you dramatically increase individual learning and knowledge. The more we know, the more credible we are in our field, which helps maintain our relevancy.
Sharpening your leadership style will give you radical results. You have to match the style of your teaching to the results you want to achieve. For example, John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods, is known for wearing shorts and hiking boots to work. He also closes every business meeting with a round of “appreciations” or nice expressions about the attendees.
He’s also known for disclosing everyone’s pay and making decisions by majority vote. John Mackey is considered to be trustworthy, efficient, and sees incredible results. However, this strategy of leadership probably wouldn’t be effective in a law firm. Fit the style culture to the context.
What works for one company may not work for you. You have to acknowledge that your skills, talents, and goals differ from everyone else’s. Leaders will not succeed by merely copying someone else’s playbook.
If you want to continue to stay relevant, successful, and credible, stay introspective. Take an honest assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, and natural abilities. Continue to nurture your talents and you’ll continue to excel in everything you do. Whatever your tasks are, be intentional with your talents and your success will multiply.
For more ways to improve your skills and credibility, check out The Mastermind Playbook.