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4-STEPs TO STRENGTHEN YOUR PERSONAL SKILLS



By:  B. Tracy

Only by discovering your innate, personal skills and developing and exploiting them to their highest degree can you utilize yourself to get the greatest amount of satisfaction and enjoyment from everything you do. Creating an action plan through personal strategic planning can give you the highest rewards for your efforts and is the starting point in getting the best out of yourself.

When we do strategic planning for corporations, we begin with the premise that the whole purpose of the exercise is to reorganize and reallocate people and resources to increase the rate of return on equity, or capital invested in the business. Invariably, this is done by emphasizing some areas and de-emphasizing others, by allocating more resources to areas with higher potential return and by taking resources away from those areas that represent lower potential returns. By developing or promoting newer and better products and services and by discontinuing those products and services that are less profitable, the company and all the people in it can channel their resources to maximize their returns.

In doing personal strategic planning, the first thing you want to think about is increasing your personal “return on energy,” rather than return on equity. You need to realize that the most essential and valuable thing that you have to bring to your life and to your work is your ability to think, to act and to get results. Your earning ability—which is a function of your education, knowledge, experience and talents—is your human capital, or your equity. And the way you develop your personal skills and use your earning ability will largely determine the quality and quantity of your rewards, both material and psychological, both tangible and intangible.

Action Plan Step 1: Clarify Your Values


This first part of personal strategic planning is called “values clarification.” You ask yourself, “What values and virtues do I most admire and wish to practice in my life?” If you wanted to discover your strengths and personal skills in the work world, first you would define your values as they apply to employment. The values that companies settle upon would be similar to the values that you organize your work life around. Often, both companies and individuals will choose values such as integrity, quality, respect for others, service, profitability, innovation, entrepreneurship, market leadership, and so on.

In a similar vein, you could use those values to define your position with regard to your work. In your personal strategic planning, you could decide to plan your work life around the values of quality, excellence, service, profitability, and innovation. There are dozens of values that you can pick from, but whichever you choose, and the order of priority you place on your choices, will determine your approach to your work.

Action Plan Step 2: Create Your Personal Mission Statement


Your next step is to create your personal mission statement. This is a clear, written description of the person you intend to be in your work life. I have often found that this is even more important than setting specific financial or business or sales goals. Once you have decided how much you want to earn, you need to write out a personal mission statement that describes the kind of person you intend to become in order to earn that amount of money.

Remember: Your goal is to identify your personal skills and strengths so that you can deploy yourself in such a way as to increase your personal return on energy. In personal strategic planning, one of the best mental techniques that you can use to develop your personal skills is to see yourself as a “bundle of resources” that can be applied in a variety of directions to achieve a variety of objectives. As a bundle of resources, the amount of time and energy that you have is limited; therefore, your time and energy must be put to their highest and best use. Stand back and imagine that you’re looking at yourself objectively, as if through the eyes of another person, and you’re thinking about how you could apply yourself to bring about the best results. See yourself as your own employer or boss. What could you do to maximize the output of which you’re capable, and where could you do it?

Action Plan Step 3: Perform an Audit to Strengthen Personal Skills


Once you have defined your values and written out your mission statement, the next step of personal strategic planning is to do what is called a “situational analysis.” Sometimes we call it a “performance audit.” This is the process of analyzing yourself thoroughly before you begin setting specific goals and planning certain activities. You begin your performance audit by asking yourself some key questions.

One of those questions should be, “What are my marketable skills?” Think about it. What can you do for which someone else will pay you? What can you do particularly well? What can you do better than others? What have you done particularly well in the past?

A wage or a salary is merely an amount of money that is paid to purchase a certain quality and quantity of labor or output. The results that you’re able to get by applying your personal skills and strengths largely determine your rewards in life. If you wish to increase the quality and quantity of your rewards, you have to increase your ability to achieve more and better results. It’s very simple.

Action Plan Step 4: Determine Your Area of Excellence


Finally, in personal strategic planning, the aim is always to achieve leadership in your chosen market niche. Business leaders have the authority to determine the area of excellence in their business. Analogously, on a personal level, you can choose the thing at which you’re going to become absolutely excellent and achieve extraordinary results. So in what areas are you going to work to achieve results that are far beyond what the average person could be expected to accomplish?

You were put on this earth with a special combination of talents, abilities, and personal skills that make you different from anyone who has ever lived. Whatever you’re doing today, it’s nowhere near what you’re really capable of doing. The key to a happy and prosperous life is for you to regularly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, to become very good in the areas you most enjoy, and then to throw your whole heart into what you’re doing.

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