In work, as in life, no one’s perfect. We all have what consulting expert and WordSmithRapport CEO Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq., refers to as “dim areas” that threaten to derail our careers. Luckily, there are ways to address our professional shortcomings, and in a terrific Black Enterprise post titled “How to Hack Performance Gaps,” Mariama-Arthur lists four ways to strengthen those weak spots stay as competitive as possible in this tough job market. Read to see what he suggests.
1. Find the Gaps — Begin with what Mariama-Arthur calls a “deep dive” of your overall career performance. There’ll be tendency to focus on things you’re good at, but the key here is to be completely honest with yourself and find the areas in which you need improvement. In some cases, it might be helpful to enlist others, as they can offer an unbiased outside perspective. Once you discover where your performance gaps lie, Mariama-Arthur writes, you must own up to them. “Being honest about where you are inadequate is necessary to effectively tackle the gaps,” he writes.
2. Get Expert Help — Fixing performance gaps can be a difficult process. It’s not the kind of thing you can do completely by yourself. You might need someone to guide you through the process, and if your deep dive reveals holes in your skill set — i.e. your Excel game really needs some work — find teachers that can patch ’em up. It might even be that doing research or reading the right book solves the problem. In any case, don’t go it alone.
3. Take Action — It’s not enough to know where you could be better. You’ve got to actually make yourself better. Take swift, strong action, Mariama-Arthur writes, and use all of that “stockpiled” information — the result of your research and/or work with experts — to actually make the changes that need to be made.
4. Revisit the Issue(s) — Often times, performance gaps require more than quick fixes. The first strategy you use to address them might not work. The only way to know for sure, though, is to reassess the situation and suss out whether your changes had any effect. “Does your overall performance reflect the new level of thinking and skill that you’ve acquired?” Mariama-Arthur writes. “If not, you’ll need to determine what went wrong and devise a new plan of action.”