Skills + Performance = Opportunity: Skills

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Dec 10

In my article on using frameworks to develop career management plans, I used a formula that simplifies career management: Skills + Performance = Opportunity.

That formula was given to me by one of my former managers and it is a great reference point for what needs to be done to have a successful career in any industry. I would suggest it even has applicability for entrepreneurs and freelance workers as well.

I’d like to focus on each of the three areas in the formula, starting with Skills.

Skills are the tools you use to do your work. Skills are typically learned and are considered requirements for doing a job well. While one would typically think of job skills as something intrinsic to the specific position, jobs skills actually are both specific and broad:

  • Technical skills. These are skills that are necessary to perform in a specific position. Programming Ruby on Rails, for example, requires that the person learn the programming language so as to write in the language, a technical skill. A fire fighter needs to learn how to put out fires in a multitude of situations, a technical skill.
  • Team skills. These are interpersonal skills that enable you to interact and work with others in an effective and productive manner.
  • Leadership skills. These are the learned traits of both individual contributors and managers of people that show leadership at work.
  • Self-management skills. These skills are all about how well you manage your work, emotions, and interactions. Self-management takes both control and perspective.

Each of these areas have items that can be learned to improve one’s skills. One can project that the more skills one is competent in, the better the opportunity for doing different things at work. While this is mostly true, many jobs ask for (though not necessarily require) actual long term practice in the skill identified requiring you to also have depth in the knowledge area of the skill.

In any given job situation, you can have one of these skill areas be more important than another and in the next position have it reversed. This is because different managers hire differently and different teams work together differently. Consequently, balancing each of these categories of skills is important because each can become the dominate skill set needed for the next position.

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