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Confidence & Competence…

Do you ever arrive?

When you become a professional you do not know everything that you need to know to operate as a professional…

What? What are you saying, Andrew?

You know enough to hopefully know that you don’t know everything…

You know enough to be aware that there is plenty more that you are going to need to know…

Growth…

Over the course of your career, you will learn more and more and more…

The more you learn the more you learn that you don’t know a lot…

The longer your career progresses the less you realize you know in the big scheme of things in terms of the entirety of your profession…

Yes, if you niche yourself into one specific (or unique) microcosm of your profession then you can become an expert in that field or sub-set of your profession…

Otherwise, you’re always learning…

Confidence…

If this is the case how do you approach new work with confidence?

How do you know when you say, “Yes” to a Client to complete a project or assignment or engagement for them that you have the competency to complete it?

Here’s what I’ve learned to date (nearly 20 years to the day from when I started out in the workforce as a Structural Engineer)…

The confidence which you feel when you are approached by a Client with a request and you are considering various options and you just know that you’re going to be able to achieve this – instinct is what we’re talking about here – this is what you should ‘go with’ in terms of your initial response ‘no, no-go’ with your Client…

After you ‘commit’ and give that ‘go ahead’ to your Client you then need to think through the issue of competence…

Competence…

Do you currently have the competence (either individually or within your team) to complete the work independently?

If not, who do you know that you can partner with – another company or a member of another company (who you can second to your team for the project) – to give leadership or oversight and to ensure that your team completes the assignment using current ‘best practice’ knowledge…

Are there other ‘in between’ approaches such as attending a specific training course or seeking out scholarly articles from industry leaders or ‘gurus’ in that particular field?

As long as your network is wide enough and you have the desire to do the job right then you will eventually find the competency to complete the work…

Another option is to engage another company to formally peer review your work (in partnership with you as the project progresses rather than waiting until the end once all the work is completed)…

This will give extra confidence to your team, your present Client and to future prospective Clients…

What I am explaining is that no one’s competency is stagnant…

No one’s competency is ‘set’…

To be fulfilled as a professional, you need to be constantly growing both in your confidence and in your competence…

Linked…

The two are linked, your confidence feeds off the successes which you have from your projects and the successes are based on the provision of a competent solution which if you are pushing yourself means a growth in competency for your team…

Always growing in competence, always growing in confidence…

The only thing to break this cycle of growth is a lack of confidence that you will ‘do the right thing’ and ‘whatever it takes’ do a good job for your Client…

Do a good job…

If you make the decision that no matter what it takes you will always do a good job, i.e. a competent job, for each and every Client you have and that you will never ‘skimp’ or take shortcuts or bow to time pressures which compromise your solution or ‘cut short’ your process when you run out of fee, if you make the decision never to do these things then your rise in confidence and competency will be continuous…

And your team will reap the benefit as they will be growing both in confidence and competency also… ?

Andrew J Horton
06 December 2016

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