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Article: Take Charge Of Your Own Performance With These 5 Personal Performance Enhancers Related Resources

Take Charge Of Your Own Performance
With These 5 Personal Performance Enhancers

by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.

1. Job-Specific Or Skills-Specific Training. Many lump these two into one category: job specific skills training.  They are however, a bit different.  Every job within an organization varies in accordance with the subculture of the department, the expectations of the boss, "the way it's always been done" rules and so on.  And every organization has a different set of ideas about what is the nature and function of any particular job. So know what your job is according to "the powers that be" and get training to improve the skills -- both hard skills and soft skills -- "they" expect to see.  And then, acquire the knowledge and skills required for the next job up the ladder or the next job you want.  Since most positions are filled from the inside first, if there is a suitable candidate, make yourself the obvious choice to move up after your splendid performance on your current job.

2. Self Testing. Measure your own performance and the impact of improvement techniques you try. Basically, you find a way to accurately describe and then quantify or measure the skills or qualities you want to acquire or improve.  Next, assess your current status. Then try improvement or acquisition techniques. Finally, assess your level of improvement.  Does this sound complicated? It isn't as hard as you might think. Just do what your employer would do to assess you. Your first step is to define what particular performance you want to measure, how to measure it and to what standard to compare it. Almost every organization has a system for employee performance appraisal. Find out how your organization appraises you and adapt their methods and standards to test yourself and monitor your progress.  As long as they understand you're trying to improve yourself and not find out confidential information, most HR departments -- or bosses -- will be glad to tell you what you need to know.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice. There's an old joke about a guy who hops into a N.Y.C. cab with a violin case in his hand and asks the driver, "Do you know how to get to Carnegie Hall?"  The driver looks at the instrument case and quips, "Practice, practice, practice."  So funny and so true.  Mastery of anything is in practice. Once you know the skills you need for your job, keep going.  It's not enough to learn to do something.  You need to use those skills consistently.  Hone them until you are a master. 

4. Time Management and Personal Organization. These should be considered as one category. Time management is really schedule and task management. Personal organization is the skill of having everything you need in the place you need it at the time you need it -- and knowing what is the time and/or place. These skills are essential to career success and small business success.  All organizations require them. No matter what other fabulous skills you master, your value hinges on your ability to deliver your work product or service on time and done with the quality expected.

Furthermore, you are expected to be at meetings and appointments on time and with all the relevant material and equipment to perform your functions. You are expected to coordinate your schedule with others. You are expected to show up at your place of work on time and to leave at or after quitting time.  If you stay late, it's expected to be because you are doing extra work and are ambitious, not because you can't get your work done in the regular working hours.  If you have a small business, nothing will cause the loss of customers faster than broken promises about time of delivery. 

Personal organization and time management are the "no-excuses" skills. There is an abundance of both digital and analog devices available to help you.  You don't have to invest in large computer systems and digital organizers.  A good desk pad calendar, a systematized file cabinet, a cell phone, and a paper-based personal organizer (I like DayRunner®), combined with a decent laptop computer will do the basics you need. The rest is about having the personal discipline to put things where they belong, do things when they must be done and show up where you're supposed to be, at the time you're supposed to be there.

5. Coaching/Mentoring. You can hire a coach to help you clarify your goals and focus on the processes that will help you attain them.  Coaches encourage you to stretch and grow in ways that haven't occurred to you. They root for you and support your drive to achieve your dreams.  They help you get there faster. They help you practice your skills. They are personal trainers for work rather than sports or exercise. Use them when you're stuck; when your boss or organization or colleagues aren't of help; when you don't know what to do next; when you aren't progressing as quickly as you like or need.

Mentors are for insider insight and sometimes direct assistance. Mentors will do much of what coaches do, and more. Usually, a mentor will be someone inside your own organization who has a position of sufficient influence and power to know what you need to do to succeed there, will tell you what you need to know and is willing to help you maneuver your way through the maze of organizational politics.  He (or she) may even directly sponsor your climb up the organizational ladder. This is one of the most valuable friendships you may ever have.  Most ofter, it is bestowed upon you for the mentor's personal reasons, which you may never know.  But these relationships can be intentionally developed. 

How to choose a coach and how to get a mentor are well beyond the scope of this article.  Go research them.  There are many articles and books available.  You'll be glad you did.


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