In Susan Scott’s book, Fierce Leadership, she writes that she is going to name her next book “The Complete Guide to the Fricking Obvious.” Here’s my experience: most “wisdom,” most books, teach me little. But they do a lot of reminding — and what they remind me of is usually pretty obvious. (So — as is true so frequently, we’re back to the knowing-doing gap that Bob Morris refers to with some frequencvy. It is truly a serious gap!)
I frequently think about the”obvious” array of skills/practices/disciplines that are needed to be successful. So, let me give a quick, to the point, partial list.
1. Obvious reminder #1 — it is a good idea to improve your presentation skills. Every job, every endeavor, requires successful communication events. From a one-to-one conversation, to a speech delivered to a room full of people, to the more recent challenge of the webinar – keeping the attention of a group of people listening over the telephone — communicating effectively is truly a core competency. And, like everything else, the only way to get good at it is to work on it — with “deliberate practice.” Consider these questions: do you communicate more effectively today than you did a year ago? Will you communicate more effectively a year from now than you do today?
2. Obvious reminder #2: it is a good idea to improve your preparation skills. For everything. For meetings, for proposals, for presentations. When you are ready to meet/deliver/work, good preparation is essential. What you do before the moment at hand is absolutely as important as what you do at the moment at hand. Are you a good preparer?
3. Obvious reminder #3: it is a good idea to improve your follow-up/follow-through skills. Mary Kay Ash was really big on this one. She said that follow through is just about the most important success skill to develop. (I need to work especially hard on this one myself… OK; I need to work on all of these!) Good intentions are just that — intentions. Following through is the step that turns intentions into reality. Are you better at follow through than you were a year ago? Will you get better at it this year?
There are many other obvious reminders: it is a good idea to improve your sales skills, your marketing skills, your time management skills, your problem-solving skills, your… You get the idea. It is fricking obvious that we all need to improve our skills, in every part of our business (and personal) lives. Because, the better we get at what we do, the better our chances for success.