Excellence in Competencies/Skills

You will be able to achieve the excellence in any skill or competency only if you rehearse or practice the learned skill a large number of times. Knowledge alone is no guarantee for achieving great levels in skills or competencies.

Only if you start swimming, you will become a swimmer; mere knowledge of swimming or great theories of swimming will not automatically make you even an ordinary swimmer. Knowledge surely helps and is a must but without doing, it is of no use to you. If you wish to become a good teacher, start teaching the subject you know well. If you want to become an actor, start acting. Seek roles in movies or dramas or TV shows and keep refining your acting by doing it and also applying your knowledge in doing it better. If your desire is to become an author, start writing. Write something every day. And use your knowledge to write even better. Doing is what makes you what you wish to become, knowledge alone does not.

Implementation of knowledge is the name of the game. Wisdom is in knowing what to do and how to do but the virtue is doing it.

Great Knowledge + Zero Implementation = No effectiveness, No results, No success.
Some Knowledge + Some implementation = Some Effectiveness, Some Results, Some Success.
Great Knowledge + Great Implementation = Great Effectiveness, Great Results, Great Success.

There are 4 levels of competencies or skills (also refer points 3 and 4 of the paragraph titled "Inventory of Competencies and developing Competency Matrix" above):

1. Unconsciously incompetent: Ignorance (example: you are not even aware that there are some proper styles of swimming).

2. Consciously incompetent: Acceptance of incompetence and creating a desire to learn (example: you accept that you do not swim properly and you will like to learn the correct styles of swimming).

3. Consciously competent: Gaining the knowledge about the skill to be mastered and begin practicing the knowledge gained (example: gaining knowledge on how to swim using proper styles of swimming and start swimming using the right styles of swimming).

4. Unconsciously competent: Keep practicing the knowledge gained till you gain mastery in the skill (example: you have now become an expert swimmer since you have been swimming using the proper styles of swimming over number of hours and you can now give yourself 9 on 10 or even 10 on 10).

For greater success in life, you should try to reach the unconsciously competent level in the skills required by you for your professional, personal, family and social activities/tasks/projects.

Also Read : Competency Matrix

Common Time Management Mistakes

How well do you manage your time? If you're like many people, your answer may not be completely positive!

Perhaps you feel overloaded, and you often have to work late to hit your deadlines. Or maybe your days seem to go from one crisis to another, and this is stressful and demoralizing. Many of us know that we could be managing our time more effectively; but it can be difficult to identify the mistakes that we're making, and to know how we could improve.

When we do manage our time well, however, we're exceptionally productive at work, and our stress levels drop. We can devote time to the interesting, high-reward projects that can make a real difference to a career. In short, we're happier! In this article, we're looking at ten of the most common time management mistakes, as well as identifying strategies and tips that you can use to overcome them. These ten mistakes are:

Mistake 1. Failing to Keep a To-Do List
Do you ever have that nagging feeling that you've forgotten to do an important piece of work? If so, you probably don't use a To-Do List to keep on top of things. (Or, if you do, you might not be using it effectively!) The trick with using To-Do Lists effectively lies in prioritizing the tasks on your list. Many people use an A - F coding system (A for high priority items, F for very low priorities). Alternatively, you can simplify this by using A through D, or by using numbers.
If you have large projects on your list, then, unless you're careful, the entries for these can be vague and ineffective. For instance, you may have written down "Start on budget proposal." But what does this entail? The lack of specifics here might cause you to procrastinate, or miss key steps. So make sure that you break large tasks or projects down into specific, actionable steps - then you won't overlook something important. You can also use Action Programs to manage your work when you have many large projects happening at once. (Action Programs are "industrial strength" versions of To-Do Lists.)

Mistake 2. Not Setting Personal Goals
Do you know where you'd like to be in six months? What about this time next year, or even 10 years from now? If not, it's time to set some personal goals! Personal goal setting is essential to managing your time well, because goals give you a destination and vision to work toward. When you know where you want to go, you can manage your priorities, time, and resources to get there. Goals also help you decide what's worth spending your time on, and what's just a distraction.To learn how to set SMART, effective goals, read up on Locke's Goal Setting Theory. Here, you'll learn how to set clearly defined goals that will keep you motivated.
You might also enjoy our Book Insight into "Long Fuse, Big Bang" by Eric Haseltine. This book teaches you how to focus on your long-term goals without overlooking your short term priorities.

Mistake 3. Not Prioritizing
Your assistant has just walked in with a crisis that she needs you to deal with right now, but you're in the middle of brainstorming ideas for a new client. You're sure that you've almost come up with a brilliant idea for their marketing campaign, but now you risk losing the thread of your thinking because of this "emergency."Sometimes, it's hard to know how to prioritize, especially when you're facing a flood of seemingly-urgent tasks. However, it's essential to learn how to prioritize tasks effectively if you want to manage your time better.
One tool that will help you prioritize effectively is the Urgent/Important Matrix. This helps you understand the difference between urgent activities, and important activities. You'll also learn how to overcome the tendency to focus on the urgent.The Action Priority Matrix is another useful tool, which will help you determine if a task is high-yield and high-priority, or low-value, "fill in" work. You'll manage your time much better during the day if you know the difference.
You might also want to go through our Bite-Sized Training Class, How to Prioritize, to further enhance your skills.

Mistake 4. Failing to Manage Distractions
Do you know that some of us can lose as much as two hours a day to distractions? Think how much you could get done if you had that time back!Whether they come from emails, IM chats, colleagues in a crisis, or phone calls from clients, distractions prevent us from achieving flow, which is the satisfying and seemingly effortless work that we do when we're 100 percent engaged in a task.If you want to gain control of your day and do your best work, it's vital to know how to minimize distractions and manage interruptions effectively. For instance, turn off your IM chat when you need to focus, and let people know if they're distracting you too often. You should also learn how to improve your concentration, even when you're faced with distractions.
Additionally, our article on managing email effectively teaches you how to gain control of your email, so that it doesn't eat up your entire day.

Mistake 5. Procrastination
Procrastination occurs when you put off tasks that you should be focusing on right now. When you procrastinate, you feel guilty that you haven't started; you come to dread doing the task; and, eventually, everything catches up with you when you fail to complete the work on time.
Start by taking our Procrastination Quiz to find out if procrastination is a problem in your life. If it is, then learn the strategies you need to beat procrastination.For instance, one useful strategy is to tell yourself that you're only going to start on a project for ten minutes. Often, procrastinators feel that they have to complete a task from start to finish, and this high expectation makes them feel overwhelmed and anxious. Instead, focus on devoting a small amount of time to starting. That's all!You might also find it helpful to use Action Plans. These help you break large projects down into manageable steps, so that it's easy to see everything that you need to get done, and so that you can complete small chunks at a time. Doing this can stop you from feeling overwhelmed at the start of a new project.

Mistake 6. Taking on too Much
Are you a person who has a hard time saying "no" to people? If so, you probably have far too many projects and commitments on your plate. This can lead to poor performance, stress, and low morale.Or, you might be a micromanager: someone who insists on controlling or doing all of the work themselves, because they can't trust anyone else to do it correctly. (This can be a problem for everyone - not just managers!) Either way, taking on too much is a poor use of your time, and it can get you a reputation for producing rushed, sloppy work. To stop this, learn the subtle art of saying "yes" to the person, but "no" to the task. This skill helps you assert yourself, while still maintaining good feelings within the group. If the other person starts leaning on you to say "yes" to their request, learn how to think on your feet, and stay cool under pressure.

Mistake 7. Thriving on "Busy"
Some people get a rush from being busy. The narrowly-met deadlines, the endless emails, the piles of files needing attention on the desk, the frantic race to the meeting... What an adrenaline buzz! The problem is that an "addiction to busyness" rarely means that you're effective, and it can lead to stress. Instead, try to slow down, and learn to manage your time better.

Mistake 8. Multitasking
To get on top of her workload, Linda regularly writes emails while she chats on the phone to her clients. However, while Linda thinks that this is a good use of her time, the truth is that it can take 20-40 percent more time to finish a list of jobs when you multitask, compared with completing the same list of tasks in sequence. The result is also that she does both tasks poorly - her emails are full of errors, and her clients are frustrated by her lack of concentration.
So, the best thing is to forget about multitasking, and, instead, focus on one task at a time. That way, you'll produce higher quality work. Our Expert Interview with Dave Crenshaw, looking at The Myth of Multitasking, will give you an enlightening look at multitasking, and will help you explore how you can manage simultaneous projects more effectively.

Mistake 9. Not Taking Breaks
It's nice to think that you can work for 8-10 hours straight, especially when you're working to a deadline. But it's impossible for anyone to focus and produce really high-quality work without giving their brains some time to rest and recharge. So, don't dismiss breaks as "wasting time." They provide valuable down-time, which will enable you to think creatively and work effectively.
If it's hard for you to stop working, then schedule breaks for yourself, or set an alarm as a reminder. Go for a quick walk, grab a cup of coffee, or just sit and meditate at your desk. Try to take a five minute break every hour or two. And make sure that you give yourself ample time for lunch - you won't produce top quality work if you're hungry!

Mistake 10. Ineffectively Scheduling Tasks
Are you a morning person? Or do you find your energy picking up once the sun begins to set in the evening? All of us have different rhythms, that is, different times of day when we feel most productive and energetic. You can make best use of your time by scheduling high-value work during your peak time, and low-energy work (like returning phone calls and checking email), during your "down" time. Our article, Is This a Morning Task? will teach you how to do this.

Key Points
One of the most effective ways of improving your productivity is to recognize and rectify time management mistakes.

When you take the time to overcome these mistakes, it will make a huge difference in your productivity - and you'll also be happier, and experience less stress!

Time Management

It is rightly said “Time and Tide wait for none”. An individual should understand the value of time for him to succeed in all aspects of life. People who waste time are the ones who fail to create an identity of their own.

What is Time Management ?
Time Management refers to managing time effectively so that the right time is allocated to the right activity.
Effective time management allows individuals to assign specific time slots to activities as per their importance.
Time Management refers to making the best use of time as time is always limited.
Ask yourself which activity is more important and how much time should be allocated to the same? Know which work should be done earlier and which can be done a little later.

Time Management plays a very important role not only in organizations but also in our personal lives.

Time Management includes:

Effective Planning
Setting goals and objectives
Setting deadlines
Delegation of responsibilities
Prioritizing activities as per their importance
Spending the right time on the right activity

1. Effective Planning
Plan your day well in advance. Prepare a To Do List or a “TASK PLAN”. Jot down the important activities that need to be done in a single day against the time that should be allocated to each activity. High Priority work should come on top followed by those which do not need much of your importance at the moment. Complete pending tasks one by one. Do not begin fresh work unless you have finished your previous task. Tick the ones you have already completed. Ensure you finish the tasks within the stipulated time frame.

2. Setting Goals and Objectives
Working without goals and targets in an organization would be similar to a situation where the captain of the ship loses his way in the sea. Yes, you would be lost. Set targets for yourself and make sure they are realistic ones and achievable.

3. Setting Deadlines
Set deadlines for yourself and strive hard to complete tasks ahead of the deadlines. Do not wait for your superiors to ask you everytime. Learn to take ownership of work. One person who can best set the deadlines is you yourself. Ask yourself how much time needs to be devoted to a particular task and for how many days. Use a planner to mark the important dates against the set deadlines.

4. Delegation of Responsibilities
Learn to say “NO” at workplace. Don’t do everything on your own. There are other people as well. One should not accept something which he knows is difficult for him. The roles and responsibilities must be delegated as per interest and specialization of employees for them to finish tasks within deadlines. A person who does not have knowledge about something needs more time than someone who knows the work well.

5. Prioritizing Tasks
Prioritize the tasks as per their importance and urgency. Know the difference between important and urgent work. Identify which tasks should be done within a day, which all should be done within a month and so on. Tasks which are most important should be done earlier.

6. Spending the right time on right activity
Develop the habit of doing the right thing at the right time. Work done at the wrong time is not of much use. Don’t waste a complete day on something which can be done in an hour or so. Also keep some time separate for your personal calls or checking updates on Facebook or Twitter. After all human being is not a machine.

For Effective Time Management one needs to be:

Organized - Avoid keeping stacks of file and heaps of paper at your workstation. Throw what all you don’t need. Put important documents in folders. Keep the files in their respective drawers with labels on top of each file. It saves time which goes on unnecessary searching.

Don’t misuse time - Do not kill time by loitering or gossiping around. Concentrate on your work and finish assignments on time. Remember your organization is not paying you for playing games on computer or peeping into other’s cubicles. First complete your work and then do whatever you feel like doing. Don’t wait till the last moment.

Be Focussed - One needs to be focused for effective time management.

Develop the habit of using planners, organizers, table top calendars for better time management. Set reminders on phones or your personal computers.

Which Leadership Style to be followed ?

Without an effective leadership strategy, it is believed, that the organizational strategies do not work. Best players in a team do not guarantee success without a great coach, similarly, work teams may not function effectively if leaders do not follow an appropriate leadership strategy.

To understand leadership styles here are three scenarios - Scenario 1 - A Teacher gives a question to the class full of students, however, solves it for them; Scenario 2 - A Teacher gives the question to the students and observes how students solve them; Scenario 3 - A Teacher gives a question to the students and moves around the class, observes the students, and helps wherever required. Scenario 1 was “Leading from the Front”, Scenario 2 was “Supportive Leadership Style”, and Scenario 3 was “Interactive Leadership Style”. Besides this the leadership styles / strategies could be based on personality traits like Directive Leadership, Structured Leadership, Intuitive Leadership, or Process Driven leadership.

Here are some tips while selecting leadership strategy / style:

  • A leader must be aware of his / her personality traits and those of his team members / followers to understand which leadership style will be most effective.
  • A leader may not adopt a consistent leadership all through his / her career. Situational Leadership helps addressing varied needs / expectations of the followers as he the leader adopts a strategy based on a situation he / she is in. In case a leader has a self-reliant team, he needs to be using a directive leadership style or lead form the front. He could instead delegate and provide inputs where necessary.
  • A common mistake especially a lot of new leaders make is to copy established / well know leaders. Remember, each situation is unique and so are the followers. A leadership style which may be suited to a well known leader may not be appropriate for your team. Make no mistake here - do not try and imitate other leaders.
  • A leader will never be afraid of trying new approach to solve a work problem or address a conflicting situation. It is quite a possibility that a leader adopts a style that is not by the book.
  • A leader must keep enhancing his / her leadership skills. While on the job experience matters a lot, getting enrolled into leadership courses after detailed evaluation of the program and feedback of the participants will help implementing a leadership style more effectively.

It is often said that good leaders are born and not made; however, good leaders are those who are aware of their personality traits and also of their followers. They know which leadership style is to be adopted in a particular situation. Once this is done, there is a little challenge left for a leader to become a “good / great” leader.