To stay competitive, invest in cutting edge skills
Once you’re aware of what new skills you need to stay relevant in the current and future work world, as well as what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can figure out the ideal way to position yourself so you stand out from the competition.
Leverage your strengths to address your weaknesses.
While you do want to work on your weaknesses that may be career-killers, you don’t have to work on every weakness. For example, suppose you determine that one of your weaknesses is a lack of attention to detail. Whether you work on that depends on your industry. If you’re a trainer and you have a couple of misspellings on a slide, it’s not a big issue. But if you’re writing an opinion for a judge, detailing a contract, or are in the nuclear power industry, a lack of attention to detail is a big issue you need to correct.
After you address the career-killer weaknesses, spend the rest of your time and resources leveraging and improving upon your strengths rather than addressing every weakness. When you build upon your strengths and focus your re-training on those areas, you’ll increase your unique selling advantage and be more in-demand in your field.
Write a 30 day, 90 day, and annual action plan to invest in cutting edge skills.
After you assess what skills and knowledge you are missing and which strengths or weaknesses you want to build upon, create a 30-day, 90-day, and annual action plan to get the training and education you need. What do you need to continue advancing on your career path? It may be to enroll in a certificate program, to take the lead on a project, or to do some volunteer work to gain new skills. Whatever it is, schedule the steps in a planner and take action.
Then, re-check your plan every 30 days. This enables you to increase your level of accountability. Additionally, if you do a check-in every 30 days, you will see progress. If you see progress—even small progress—you’ll keep going. By the 90 day mark, you’ll see some significant change. So while your long-term vision that’s a year or more out might be a giant leap in skill advancement, the shorter term goals that are 30 and 90 days out are generally more manageable. And since most people can manage 30 days better than a year, the chances of you accomplishing multiple smaller goals that lead to a big goal is higher than if you just dangle that big goal out there with no mini-steps along the way.
Finally, don’t keep your training and skills attainment goals to yourself. Share your plans with others, such as a spouse, boss, co-worker, or business coach. When you have other people who care asking you questions about your progress, you’re more apt to stay the course. Use these people as sounding boards for tough decisions and for motivation when things get rough. Even if you’re good at self-accountability, still engage others. Accountability is the key to sticking to a re-training path. The more people holding you accountable, the better.
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