Toot that horn!

Almost four years down the line and I still found myself struggling to figure out just how I could accurately describe myself in a professional setting. I think we tend to feel sorry for everyone else who isn’t us and so we tone down our successes just to make them feel comfortable and ‘in the company of a friend’. Well, enough with that! The corporate world is cutting edge and no place for modest softies! Its time to embrace our inner Charlie Sheen!

In my quest to figure out how best to go about this, I came across Charlie Gibbs’ HOW TO ANSWER HARD INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (available on Amazon at only $ 18.00). He gives a very accurate summary as to how to conduct a self analysis and get those terms you need to tell everyone of your strengths and successes.

He describes competencies as ‘skills you acquire as you meander through life’. He then proceeds to categorize them as follows:

Drive for achievement

Defined as: The individual grasps opportunities to achieve and exceed their business and personal objectives; success is a great motivator for them; desires to perform tasks to the highest standards; is generally positive and enthusiastic at all times; does not suffer too greatly by setbacks and is tenacious; is resourceful and self-driven; can accept change and is flexible; has a high level of energy; leads by example.

 Strategic thinking

Defined as: The individual can think about their industry/sector as a whole; can identify threats and opportunities to the organization; can monitor the progress of short- and longer-term projects; can manage multiple priorities; understands the link between departmental and organizational objectives; recognizes the interaction between people and technical issues in achieving objectives.

 Relationship building

Defined as: The individual puts effort over a sustained period of time in building influential relationships; puts effort into building both external and internal relationships; understands the importance of good business relationships; demonstrates proactivity in utilizing the expertise of others; works with others to formulate solutions; builds on friendships and actively networks.

 Commercial awareness

Defined as: The individual understands how organizations work; can apply commercial and financial principles; demonstrates an active interest in the financial performance of the organization in terms of profit and loss, cash-flow, added value, routes to market, competitiveness, etc.

 Leadership of change

Defined as: The individual works with others to implement change; helps to clarify and avoid ambiguity; willingly accepts change; takes responsibility for driving things forward; can identify and initiate change; understands the inter-connectivity of departments and how change affects others.

 Leadership skills

Defined as: The individual demonstrates an ability to share a sense of vision and common purpose; has respect of others through words and deeds; inspires loyalty and commitment; has an adaptable leadership style depending on individuals and circumstances; can create and build teams; is inspirational and enthusiastic; demonstrates empathy; can transform strategic objectives into firm actions.

 Continuous improvement

Defined as: The individual demonstrates the ability to identify the actions needed to make things happen in a quality-oriented way; can ensure these actions are carried out; seizes opportunities to make improvements; establishes conditions to ensure continuous improvement; can plan and organize tasks; can challenge the status quo.

 Customer awareness

Defined as: The individual can demonstrate an ability to meet and exceed customer expectations; recognizes the prime importance of the customer; can anticipate future customer needs; goes the extra mile for the customer; takes responsibility for developing long-term relationships with customers; forges partnerships that contribute to future growth opportunities for both customer and own organization.

Decision-making skills and judgement

Defined as: The individual can demonstrate a readiness to make  high-quality decisions based on the information to hand using logic and analytical skills; breaks complex issues into component parts; considers the outcomes of varying courses of action; can draw reliable conclusions from disparate and often conflicting sources of data; can make sound decisions in a timely manner; is able to make decisions with an awareness of the political climate internally.

 Influencing skills

Defined as: The individual demonstrates competence in convincing others or impresses them in such a way as to gain acceptance, agreement or behaviour change; sets a positive example by modelling behaviour; has excellent listening, oral and written communication skills; has the ability to influence peers, subordinates and superiors and key decision-makers; can influence at tactical and strategic levels.

 Development of self and others

Defined as: The individual demonstrates an interest in the development of others as well as himself; seeks out opportunities to learn new skills; encourages others in their development; accepts coaching and mentoring responsibilities; monitors own and others’ skill levels; keeps abreast of development in their chosen field.

Team-working skills

Defined as: The individual demonstrates an ability to work cooperatively and productively with others; copies the team working styles of others; looks for opportunities to work in ad-hoc and established teams; understands how to set and monitor team objectives and goals; recognises the differing skill sets of individuals and the need for a mix within teams.

By phrasing these descriptions in appropriate tense, I think one would be well on their way to knocking anyone’s socks off!

“Hi, I’m Freshly Baked Brownies and I’m a leader driven for achievement and a firm believer in teamwork. I keep myself commercially aware and strive towards developing myself and others.”

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