While I was reading Brian Tracy’s book, “No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline” I came across an interesting section, which in summary stated that if you want to join “The Top 20 Percent” in a given field or profession then you need to achieve personal excellence in the specific skills required for that field or profession. You need to identify the key leaders or dominant players in the given field or profession and emulate their skills and behaviours. Brian Tracy also mentions that if you want to be successful identify a successful person and find out what they do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You need to know what they do when they wake up in the morning, their exercise program, what they eat and drink, their daily routine, what they read and write, what they are thinking, and what they do in the evening before they go to sleep.
For example, to become a football (soccer) superstar you need to identify the skills and behaviours of the leading players and develop those skills and behaviours through learning and significant practice to achieve personal excellence in the game. If we take the example of the football star then the key skills required to achieve excellence include: fitness/endurance, ball skills (passing, receiving, dribbling, defensive, attacking, kicking, finishing), running speed, awareness and anticipation (position), decision-making, and most importantly, discipline, attitude and mindset.
The same approach applies to business and personal life. If you truly desire to be the best in your given field or profession (that is, the top 20 percent) you need to identify the skills and behaviours of the top performers, and develop and practice those skills and behaviours. For example, in my current role as General Manager, what I need to do is focus on leadership skills. As a summary from a previous blog, “A New Profile for Future Leaders“, the key skills and attributes of a future leader include:
- Key leadership skills
- Ability to create and articulate a vision for the future
- Define and establish clear goals and objectives
- Mentor and develop staff
- Team dynamics
- Ability to solve problems
- Ability to generate new ideas and identify new opportunities
- A high level of written and verbal communication skills
- Negotiation and persuasive selling skills
- Operational and project management skills
- Financial management
- Change management
Once you have identified these specific skills you then need to evaluate your level of competency for each skill by developing a Personal Skills Matrix. A skills matrix consists of a list of the required skills for your field or profession and a rating for each skill against the level of competency required. The skills matrix will determine the gaps that exist and this will provide the basis for your personal development action plan that will encourage you to focus on the specific skills required for your development.
Dr John Kapeleris