Once we have embraced lifelong learning by ridding ourselves of competence delusion and we become aware of the problems that affect our competence, we are faced with deciding what to learn. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and immobilised by the endless data on the World Wide Web and the variety of courses open to us. In addition, we often feel we are too busy to allocate time to learning.
Yet, I find that people who have continued to develop their competencies invariably have spare capacity. They are the ones who, despite having a significant work load, seem to get even more done. It is unlikely that they will give the response it’s not in my job description or I am too busy. They respond positively because they have developed an abundant mindset and supporting their mindset, the knowledge and skills to be both effective and efficient. The effective person does the right things and the efficient person does things right. Mentally tough people develop the ability to select the right things in any given moment and they do them efficiently. Have you noticed that many successful people seem to have enough time to do more things; they seem to be uncluttered and unhurried when performing under stress; they make fewer mistakes and they don’t let a backlog develop.
Have you identified your competence priorities?
You can identify your competence priorities by analysing your personal strategy. In particular analyse the gap between your vision and current reality and analyse the needs that emerge from your SWOT analysis. The challenge is to clearly identify which of these needs can be satisfied with increased competence. For example, you may ask: Is my current competence as a parent sufficient to achieve my parenting vision? Can I rely on my childhood experiences and the examples of my peers to provide me with the competence to fully realize my potential as a parent? Is there a chance that I may have learnt inappropriate mindsets and behaviours from these sources? Are my change management skills sufficient to enable me to adapt to the transformations that my children have to go through? Whilst on the topic of parenting I might add that I opted to do a parenting course. Having done the course I was truly amazed at the knowledge and skills available for improving parenting competence and of course how much I did not know.
Your gap analysis with reference to your income generation will in all likelihood indicate that you need education in the form of knowledge and skills that are at least equal to the best in your chosen field and better than those of the opposition. This may include intellectual, technical, leadership or management knowledge and skills. Education introduces new knowledge and perspectives that challenge our accepted views, enable us to accelerate our development and make a dramatic leap in progress. Many people are working too hard because they lack the right education and are trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. The work we do whether it’s as an entrepreneur, leader, manager, salesperson or sports person requires knowledge and the development of relevant skills. Clearly the specific knowledge and skills for you to achieve world class standards in your domain are too many to be addressed here.
Do you chase success or money – or do you set up the circumstances where they chase you?
Once you have identified your competence priorities what do you do about them? Do you quickly learn enough about them to claim or worse feign competence? Are you drinking from the fountain of wisdom or just gargling? Put in a slightly less idiomatic way, do you take a surface approach to learning or do you take a deep approach? A useful image is an iceberg. Surface learning represents the tip of the iceberg, but when you look under the surface there is much more that can be revealed. Surface learning is about taking a strategic approach to learning; it’s about achieving the goal but often sacrificing the process in the pursuit of the goal. A surface approach is characterised by an intention to complete the minimum learning requirements. The learning is task focused and information is memorized but claims and facts get blurred.
Whereas a deep approach to learning signals an intention to understand, to request the research or do the research, to engage the arguments, to seek multiple perspectives, to understand how and why new ideas link to previous knowledge and how to reconstruct a new reality. With a deeper approach you work harder in the right way – you engage in attentive repetition. Therefore, a deeper approach gives you a deeper understanding, clearer comprehension and new meaning. Learning about your craft is represented by the tip of the iceberg. But you need to do more than learn about your craft. You need to understand your craft, you need to practice your skills and polish your act. If you do this, then you can answer this question: Do you chase success or money or do you set up the circumstances where they chase you?
Have you identified your competence priorities? Can you become effective and efficient? Do you chase success or money – or do you set up the circumstances where they chase you?
Dr Steve Harris – Mind Doctor