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What is a reasonable time to competence?

Posted by Meg Bear on November 6, 2009

3414141911_b3dc51b252Without a doubt acquiring a new skill is hard.  It takes time, practice and a willingness to fail.  I do not want to suggest that you should only attempt those things that you already know or do well.  That is just silly.

You should challenge yourself every day to try new things and learn new skills, just remember that some skills might not be within reach for you.    You might gain a basic level of competence after a lot of hard work but for some things you will never be outstanding.

This is a universal truth [always remember you are unique, just like everyone else].

So what happens when you are not gaining a job critical competency?  When you find yourself unable to get to an appropriate level of competence in a reasonable amount of time (as evidenced by lackluster performance feedback)  you should probably take a step back and regroup moment.

I’d like to say again, that if you do not have a good job fit you will not be top Talent.

Putting it another way, when you have a bad job fit you are probably getting labeled as a “poor performer”.  If you find yourself in a second performance discussion where the topic is does not meet expectations* I think it’s time to take a serious look at the question of job fit.

Instead of going down the mental path of inadequacy and low self esteem, take a moment and find your strengths (you can get help doing this for approx $14, well worth the investment) and then have a hard look at your job.  Is the job you are doing playing to your strengths (I’m going to take a wild guess that there might be a mismatch)?

Now comes the brave part.

Instead of just having yet another discussion with your boss about your lack of competence, do the adult thing and work with her to see if there is a better way to define your job to play to your strengths.

If this is not possible, you probably need to start thinking about getting a different role somewhere else.

If you don’t take action, you are probably going to live forever in the bottom left box of the Talent 9-box, and I promise you that is not the zip code in which you want to reside.


*Also be on the look out for does not meet feedback hidden under a meets expectations rating, this happens more than I care to acknowledge.

5 Responses to “What is a reasonable time to competence?”

  1. Amy Wilson said

    Very well put, Meg. This is a really practical look at job fit. It’s not about being bad or good, but specifically your capacity to be the best and finding the role that allows you to maximize that capacity.

  2. Great advice. Why be a square peg in a round hole? Or do what you can do pretty well but don’t enjoy?

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