The One Way Anyone Can Develop A Skill, No Matter How Difficult
At the beginning of my career, I was thrown to the wolves.
In school, they teach you NOTHING about management.
During my MBA, no professor ever sat me down have the management pep talk. We never role played. Nothing.
All of this is stupid.
Stupid because young, future leaders are teachable.
The problem? People don’t take the initiative.
In school. As interns. It’s rare.
This would have been a great course: “How to effectively deal with other people in a business settings, manage with passion, and coach your team to the championship.”
Now that’s worth the tuition, a leadership crash course.
Sadly, this was not the case and it’s true for me just as much as it is for you.
Here’s how to develop any skill, whether it’s leadership or Pokemon (is that still a thing?)
Before you do anything, you first need to decide what skills you need to develop.
If you’re like me, in a heated moment, your verbal communication comes off aggressive.
You power the conversation.
Your body language is squared and direct. You are looking the other person straight in the eye and don’t blink.
Creepy? Maybe. Not a good approach.
Based on the indirect feedback I’ve received from others over the years, I knew I needed to work on this, hence my skill development goal.
For you, you may want to develop your negotiation skills as a leader.
Let’s go with that.
You’ve identified you want to develop your negotiation skills. Great. You now need to break your negotiation skill down into 3 skill blocks.
It could go like this:
Become proficient in creating your core negotiation strategy in every planned negotiation scenario.
Work on building motivation in all negotiation situations.
Learn how to make counter offers while keeping trust and credibility effectively.
These are just examples.
The key is deciding what skill you need to develop and get more focused on the “what” within that skill, you need to work on.
Don’t be like me and say you’re going to get better at marketing and begin on a brain-numbing pursuit of digital advertising certification, content certifications, copywriting training, email mastery…all at once.
Not the best way, do as I say not as I do unless your brain can run on overload.
Mine unfortunately can.
Research, purchase, and read 3 books on your skill.
You’ve identified your skill and your skills blocks.
Now go to Amazon, or even better Scribd, and pick the best 3 books on your skill subject.
Read the descriptions. Review the table of contents. See what other people are saying in the comments.
I read over 50 books a year.
This is how I read, retain and implement…
If available, I’ll take a sneak peak via the audiobook. I’m ADD ninja so my mind races during most audiobooks. It’s an excellent primer regardless.
I’ll then buy the book on Kindle, or most recently Scribd (sign up, it’s a must).
Then I’ll start reading and highlighting. As I highlight, I think consciously of how I can apply it to my daily life. You may need to take notes, I don’t. I just refer back to it if I want to recall the information.
If the book is a game changer for my personal or professional life, I’ll buy the hardcopy. Once I have the hardcopy, I’ll begin re-highlighting and make notes in the book. Just recently, I started our Quarterly Executive Book Club where we pick one book that we’ll actively discuss and implement, as a team.
The book goes everywhere with me. In meetings. In my “man” bag. Everywhere. When needed, I open it up and refer to it.
Once this is done, I begin implementing things I’ve learned. I start talking about it. Teaching it.
This is the best way to read and apply.
It looks like a lot, but it’s so crucial to your skill development.
Pick a few days in the week where you’ll practice this skill.
By now you’ve identified the skill you want to develop and began reading to deepen your knowledge.
Now you’ll set aside time in the week to work on that skill.
This should be done during your weekly review.
Let’s go back to the skill “becoming proficient in creating a core negotiation strategy.”
You’ll look at your week and decide on a few times you’ll need to negotiate.
You’ll set time aside 15 minutes before your negotiation to review what you’ve learned, practice the skill and outline your core negotiation strategy.
You plan and then do.
Once you do, you’ll then debrief yourself.
After you go through your scheduled negotiation, you’ll then answer these questions:
Like bests: what did you like best of what you did?
Next time: what will you do next time?
Get others involved and tell the world, or at a minimum your working team.
As you work on your skill, you’ll tell others the skill you’re working on.
So, for example, in our executive huddles, you would say, I’m going to start working on my negotiation skills with a focus on creating a core negotiation strategy.
Or, if it’s personal, tell your spouse, your family and post it on social media.
The trick is, pull others into your skill development.
In your meeting/s, tell a story of how you worked on the skill during the week. Don’t make it so obvious.
Once you’ve teased others into the skill you’ll be developing, you’ll now update them regularly.
Whenever you can, say, this is what I did this week and this is what I learned from my practice.
Don’t be a robot. Just say it in a normal conversational flow or post it somewhere.
Getting better at something takes deliberate practice. Don’t just talk about it. Set a goal and take action.
That’s how you develop any skill.
Thanks for reading,