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Home » Featured, Talent

How to build your skills in 5 steps

Submitted by on Saturday, 18 January 2014No Comment

How to build your skills in 5 steps

We all want (and need!) to build skills from time to time. However, very few of us seem to follow a process or discipline when we do so.

Building skills can be a daunting, time-consuming, and, let’s face it, downright frustrating experience.

This post is for those who would like to find out one very effective way to build skills in 5 easy steps – with a downloadable pdf to help.

Why we all need to build skills more effectively

As we saw in our previous post 10,000 hours, skill and capability building can take a very long time.

Just to get to the level of competence in any profession can take 1,000 hours of deliberate practice.

What’s more, due to the ever-changing nature of work, and ongoing impact of ‘VUCA’, the criteria for competence are changing all the time.

We constantly need to learn new things, new processes, and add new skills and knowledge. For example…

· You may be newly promoted and need to learn how to be more effective as a supervisor, functional leader or Board Director

· You may be moved to a different geography and need to learn a new language, culture or set of business regulations

· Your company may recently have adopted a new strategy which means you need to acquire a new set of skills or capabilities in order to deliver on it.

And these events and requirements are happening more and more rapidly…

How to build your skills more effectively

Because of the factors mentioned above and in 10,000 hours, here’s a process that makes rapid skill building super easy. Have a look…

How to build your skills in 5 stepsYou can download the pdf here

Building your skills – the process

Step One
First you need to decide what you want. What does it look like when the performance / skill is achieved? Write down the skill and the outcome you expect once it is achieved.
 
Next, you need to want the new skill. If you can’t make it resonate with you, consider dropping it and looking for another skill to develop instead.
 
Step Two
Next, you need to deconstruct the skill. Based on what you know, what are the most important parts?
 
It’s often helpful to visualise the skill before you do anything, as you do so breaking it into smaller, key parts.
 
Step Three
Now comes the ‘work’. Research just enough to decide the most important subskills. To do this, find 4-7 books or DVDs on the skill, and speed read through them.
 

Identify the key ideas that come up over and over again, write them down, then separate your time into acquiring those skills, one by one.

During this stage be careful not to procrastinate. Drive yourself through the books one by one, and quickly. You can always go back and develop and perfect your understanding later.

Step Four
This step means supporting the efforts to acquire your chosen skill. So you need to remove the barriers to practise, including TV, internet, and yes, even friends and family.
 
Another way you can do this is by ensuring that the tools and resources you need for practise are next to you, or as close to you as possible. Your goal is to make practise easy.
 
Step Five
The final step is to commit. Commit to what? Commit to learning the new skill for a specific length of time – 20 hours.
 
20 hours is enough time to get through the ‘frustrating’ part of learning the skill, including the setbacks and struggles.
 
But it is also not so long that you will endlessly be going sideways, or just aimlessly ‘browsing’ the skill.
 
One way to learn the skill is to break your 20 hours into 45 minute or 1 hour segments, and then repeat 20 or 25 times, perhaps twice (but not less) a week.
 

What you can do now

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