The Skill Set Of The Future
The business world gets more competitive every day. To stay in demand in this tough environment, you need to perform at a higher level than ever before. You must get better results (and get them quickly), instantly recover from missteps and garner the confidence to thrive in times of uncertainty. To do this, you need a modern-day skill set that gives you the edge over your competitors and helps you efficiently reach your goals.
In addition to perfecting the hard skills you need for your industry, you must also focus on developing trust and engagement—two components lacking in many business interactions today.
Keep reading to learn the seven best practices that are necessary for success.
1 Fine-tune your focus.
Today’s employees have greater responsibility and less time to complete their work. This forces them to multitask, yet most people are terrible at multitasking. Plus, they are constantly interrupted by email, smartphones and social media. Success often comes down to your ability to tune out all this noise and get focused. To help you stay disciplined, get rid of distractions and temptations until your work is finished. Turn off media, remove clutter from your desk and limit office chitchat any time you have a task to complete. This creates an environment that best allows you to serve your clients and get your work done.
2 Engage with your clients.
Building and nurturing solid client relationships is the cornerstone of any successful business. Commit to a personal code of integrity to assure clients that you will work hard for them and that they are in good hands. Strive to be honest and authentic with both your clients and your associates. People can tell whether you’re being friendly just to make a sale or truly trying to establish a connection. You will earn your clients’ trust if you are upfront about products they don’t need and honest about the products they should use. Finally, show up for them in thoughtful ways. Get to know your clients and demonstrate genuine interest in their lives, and check in even when you have nothing to sell them.
3 Get some grit.
From time to time, you will inevitably fail, lose or experience some kind or professional or personal setback. When this happens, convince yourself that you’ve got to deal with the disappointment and move on. There’s no benefit in wallowing or succumbing to fear or anger. You must believe that you can overcome anything, and then put that belief into practice. Take a short amount of time to mourn your losses and process your emotions—just don’t dwell on them. Next, take responsibility for where you are today and resolve to address any behaviors that need to be changed. Finally, get back to your normal routine and do it better than ever.
4 Work smarter, not harder.
Conduct an audit of how you currently spend your work time. Take a moment to identify your most important recurring tasks, determine how long they take and pinpoint tasks that could be completed more quickly. Then, learn to prioritize your daily goals. Create a to-do list and divide your tasks into three categories: critical, high-priority and low priority. Tackle each task in order of priority. Another good rule of thumb is to stop reinventing the wheel. Make a habit of reusing and modifying resources already at your disposal.
5 Never stop competing—with yourself.
Use a practice called “the push-up principle” to achieve personal goals by acknowledging your current skill level and then striving to slowly but consistently advance in your abilities. This process naturally leads to self-improvement through small, manageable steps. It’s based on this example: if you can do only five push-ups today, try doing six push-ups tomorrow. The push-up principle is incredibly simple, but it can create a long legacy of achievement. Set some reasonable, incremental goals and immediately start working to achieve them. Once you see how far you’ve come, your confidence level will naturally rise, and you can continually build on this momentum.
6 Hone an ideal image.
Your appearance should reflect the quality of your services. Therefore, it pays to think of your health and wellness as an investment in your success. Without a strong, fit body, it’s difficult to have the stamina to do your best at work. Be sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthfully, exercising regularly and have given up bad habits like smoking or excessive drinking. Then, once you’ve got your health under control, build a wardrobe that communicates the exact message you want to send to clients and associates. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but your clothing should fit well, and your eyewear, briefcase, purse, phone and other accessories should be stylish and contemporary. As the saying goes, image is everything.
7 Become a whole person.
Your success, and ultimately your happiness, lies in your ability to lead a balanced and rich life. No matter how much fulfillment you get from your career, you still need to enjoy all that life has to offer. Personal happiness elevates your confidence and your work performance. Make time to be present with your spouse, your kids and your network of friends. Develop a few hobbies outside of work and find ways to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you want to give something back, do some volunteer work. Another great way to round out your life and find deeper meaning is to explore your spiritual side through worship, prayer or meditation.
No matter where you are in your career right now, you will benefit from adopting habits that lead to a fulfilling life and career. Unlock your potential and be as great as you dare to be.
Paul G. Krasnow is the author of The Success Code: A Guide for Achieving Your Personal Best in Business and Life. He is a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, where he has been a top producer for 40 years. Early in his career, Krasnow suffered a financially devastating bankruptcy with a line of clothing stores he owned, but he went on to join Northwestern Mutual, where he has created an impressive financial portfolio and a strong network of clients, many of whom have become lifelong friends. He regularly speaks for life insurance associations in the U.S. and has given seminars for law firms and CPA firms in Southern California.