How To Keep Your Competitive Edge

Are you first in your market? Check your professional skills.

I had a short business meeting with a prospect a few days ago and it helped remind me of how often people neglect to go back and handle their own personal and professional development.

Training is a terrific asset especially when it’s actually utilized.

Numerous people acquire magnificent academic training, but for some reason they don’t appear to be applying it for their personal benefit regularly enough.

I’m reminded of a story regarding a contest.

Maybe you’ve enjoyed the chance to see a would-be sporting situation involving personal skills. These particular style of competitions occasionally take the form of super strength challenges. On other occasions they entail survival abilities. The one that comes to my mind’s point of view entails a competition displaying logging capabilities.

One of them was clearly a lumberjack. He was Paul Bunyan in size, demeanor and skills. The other was a tiny woman.

Lumberjack Woman

While the contest got underway the man captured an early lead. Strangely, even though his competitor was falling behind, she decided to take a ten minute break each and every hour. Through lunchtime she was essentially comparable in production to the large male.  Everyone thought it was just a fluke.

As the afternoon wore on, she continued to take her ten minute breaks, and began to inch into the lead.

At the conclusion of the day she came through as the winner. The lumberjack sat heavily on the side as she applauded him on his backbreaking work and resolution.

Eventually when she was questioned by the press reporters, she was asked the reason why she consumed those routine breathers.

These professionals had thought the rest times had served to help her with stamina.

She replied, “Not really at all. I wasn’t taking a break. I was actually sharpening my tools.”

This business of management, managing a business enterprise or even just being a business professional has very similar parallels to the parable.

I see over and over again that the hardest working and highly skilled men and women don’t automatically finish on top.

The hardest working executives don’t always create the most effective results. Entrepreneurs that insist on operating in their business rather than on their company don’t appear to be the ones whose enterprises are generally best in class.

There certainly are several layers of lessons here.

  • First, management is a sophisticated business and demands a skill set which must be continuously taught, improved and updated. Let’s call that the educational segment.
  • Further, whether or not you possess all of the training pertaining to your task, if you’re not applying that education, it is being squandered.
  • Next, maybe you’re cognizant of management instruction that’s available to you, but you’ve not taken advantage of its existence.
  • Fourth, if you know of the education and training, have indeed made use of it, and even put it to work on a daily basis, that’s excellent. But you may not be taking those short “10 minute breathers” to “develop your techniques”.

In summary, spend some time to assess your own condition about your career.

  • Figure out if you have the education and training you need.
  • If you have it, are you applying it as well as you could?
  • Are you knowledgeable about more training that’s available and are you capitalizing on it?

Few professionals are completely on top of those three questions. Potentially you’re one of these people, if so excellent. If not, it’s time to find your tools and sharpen them.