True progress, development and excellence require our individual minds working at their best. When we are our best self, we have a deep self-belief, and a self-efficacy that enables us to value our own authenticity and be brave with our actions. This is what makes teams and organisations excel.
I get annoyed with the money that people spend on skill development. People want skills and these may be technical or ‘soft’ (some people deliberately call these the ‘hard’ skills because they are the most determining and challenging skills to possess in business). I wonder why we so often do such a ‘blanket’ approach to training, when psychology research tells us this is not a great way to learn or change. I’m not saying I don’t agree with skill development, indeed it is one of the services I offer (!) but it needs to be thought about in a less blanket’y way.
Trying to excel by using skills training in a blanket’y way without an understanding of our self-efficacy, authenticity and bravery, is like trying to get our wooden boat across a river using a set of oars, without checking the underneath rudder position.
If we know where our rudder is pointing, we can get in control of it, move it to the right place. If we can’t control it or we don’t want to (sometimes it’s too big a job or there is no time/inclination) shift that position, we can work around it, by e.g. only using the oar on the opposing side. When we understand and deal with our rudder, we can head on out smoothly, not working against our oars (or our skills). We can maximize our potential and minimise our effort so we become the best captain we can be. We will get to our destination quicker and with a satisfying fluidity. I will stop metaphor’ing now (and I haven’t even started talking about the passengers in the boat, the impact on the captains home life, or the captains physical health!). I’ll pull myself back to the point. The point is, we need to focus on our self-efficacy, focus on our authenticity and focus on our bravery. We need to understand how these crucial underpinnings are controlling us, our learning and our potential. Then we need to action anything that needs to be actioned to ensure we are not undermining ourselves or others.
Much of my world is about talking to people who want more at work, they want to excel. They want to be better (leaders/teams/organisations), they want to be more powerful, make a bigger difference and they want to be more engaged while doing it. But before you invest in skill development, check your rudder, make sure you understand the self-efficacy, authenticity and bravery levels you are working with and which direction they are pointing you/your team/organisation in. Otherwise you are in for a choppy ride (…I couldn’t help myself).
Dr Amy Silver is an expert in behavioural change for business excellence. If you would like to be added to her mailing list to hear of her news please visit dramysilver.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org!