In the world of business, change is inevitable. Nobody would seriously argue with that, especially at a time when IT developments are sweeping through all areas of work and changing how things are done and who does them. But when change does come, not everybody agrees on what it means. How you view change depends on in the organisation, and managers and employees usually have very different perspectives.
If you’re , your focus is on results, and you’ll see the change as the best way to realise them. They are more aware of the business’ overall goals, the financial state of the company and its position with regard to competitors and market share.
When consider introducing change, they ask questions such as, ‘How quickly can it be implemented?’, ‘How will it benefit the company?’, ‘What investment is required?’, ‘How cost effective is the change?’ and ‘How will it affect our customers?’ Since they are usually the advocates of change, managers tend to be more enthusiastic about it.
If you’re , however, your focus is more on the immediate task of getting the job done. They seldom have time to consider how their work fits into the overall scheme of things; they don’t share the broader perspective of the company directors. Because they are often skilled and experienced in their work, or because they are placed on the frontline dealing with customers on a daily basis, they look at change from a personal perspective.
The questions ask are, ‘How will this effect the quality of my work?’, ‘How much time will it take for me to adapt?’, ‘What’s wrong with the way we’ve always done things?’ and, ultimately, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Since employees are the ones who have to put the change into action, they are usually less enthusiastic about it.
With such different about change within the organisation, it’s not surprising that innovation often fails. Planned changes need to be carefully thought out and managed. If not, morale will suffer as people feel that they are being forced to change against their will. There will surely be resistance, and some highly valued members of staff may even decide it’s time to leave.
All of this can eventually have a negative affect on productivity and efficiency. Management will have to admit defeat and drop the change, or risk losing to the competition…and then another great idea bites the dust.
The different ways of complaining are:
- Face to face
- By phone
- By email
- By letter
Let’s first take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each before concluding which is the most effective.
Picture this scenario: you have bought a faulty item from a shop and you take it back to complain. You go directly to the shop assistant and tell them your problem. They say they cannot help you, which makes you angrier, to the point perhaps where you start insulting the poor shop assistant. RESULT: This will do you no favours, like getting any compensation, or even a refund. If you go directly to the first person you see within the organisation you are complaining about, you may be wasting your time as they may be powerless to take any action or provide you with a solution. So the important lesson to be learnt is to make sure firstly that you are speaking to the relevant person, the one who has the authority to make decisions.
Perhaps you don’t have time to actually go and see the relevant authority in person so you decide to make a phone call. The problem with complaining by phone is that you may be passed around from department to department, making you more and more angry until you finally give up. Either that or the phone is hung up on you, which leaves you fuming even more. Furthermore, any contact can be denied.
The same applies to emails too, which can additionally be deleted, or even manipulated.
This leaves us with the traditional letter. When we first make a complaint the usual response is a request to write a letter: “Can you put that down in writing please?”
The advantages of writing a letter of complaint are that:
- Written records are still very important, e.g. in legal matters as opposed to a fax or email.
- You have complete control over what is being said, and you can present evidence.
- You can be prepared, and plan your letter carefully.
- You are able to keep copies of anything sent in writing.
- You have time to reflect and/or consult as opposed to complaining on the spot.
So here are some useful points to consider when writing your letter:
- State what went wrong exactly. You need to provide concrete evidence, with documentation, for example a receipt, where possible. Make sure you keep copies of all correspondence, including relevant documentation. You also need to state where, when, who was involved, what was said or done. Photographic or video evidence boosts your case.
- What do you expect from your complaint? If you are complaining about a situation at work, focus on taking action to improve situations rather than spending your time complaining.
- State a time limit for when you expect a reply.
- Be assertive, and stay calm.
- Make sure you address the complaint to the relevant person.
This will be more likely to ensure that you will achieve a satisfactory outcome from your complaint. Good luck!
Only a few years ago, a “web log” was a little-known way of keeping an online diary. At that time, it seemed like “blogs” (as they quickly became known) were only for serious computer geeks or obsessives.
This didn’t last long, though, and within a very short period of time, blogs exploded – blogs were everywhere, and it seemed that almost everyone read blogs, or was a blogger.
The blogging craze of a couple of years ago (when it was estimated that ten new blogs were started somewhere in the world every minute) now seems to have died down a bit – yet thousands of blogs (probably the better ones) remain. Blogs are no now longer seen as the exclusive possession of geeks and obsessives, and are now seen as important and influential sources of news and opinion. So many people read blogs now, that it has even been suggested that some blogs may have been powerful enough to influence the result of the recent US election.
Blogs are very easy to set up – all you need is a computer, an internet connection and the desire to write something. The difference between a blog and a traditional internet site is that a blog is one page consisting mostly of text (with perhaps a few pictures), and – importantly – space for people to respond to what you write. The best blogs are similar to online discussions, where people write in responses to what the blogger has written. Blogs are regularly updated – busy blogs are updated every day, or even every few hours.
Not all blogs are about politics, however. There are blogs about music, film, sport, books – any subject you can imagine has its enthusiasts typing away and giving their opinions to fellow enthusiasts or anyone else who cares to read their opinions.
So many people read blogs now that the world of blog writers and blog readers has its own name – the “blogosphere”.
But how influential, or important, is this blogosphere really? One problem with blogs is that many people who read and write them seem only to communicate with each other. When people talk about the influence of the blogosphere, they do not take into account the millions of people around the world who are not bloggers, never read blogs, and don’t even have access to a computer, let alone a good internet connection.
Sometimes, it seems that the blogosphere exists only to influence itself, or that its influence is limited to what is actually quite a small community. Blogs seem to promise a virtual democracy – in which anyone can say anything they like, and have their opinions heard – but who is actually listening to these opinions? There is still little hard evidence that blogs have influenced people in the way that traditional mass media (television and newspapers) have the ability to do.
Where Can You Find the Best Wooden Watches?
There are a lot of kinds of watches you can choose from and purchase in the current market. One type of watch that is quite trending and gaining a lot of popularity these days are wooden watches. Wooden watches are certainly causing a stir in the fashion and accessory world because they are made with very intricate and personalized designs, yet their functions are still very simple to understand; in addition, a lot of proud owners of this kind of watch feel a certain level of class and sophistication once they get to wear these watches. It is not a surprise that they are called wooden watches because most of their parts are comprised of wooden materials, only with the exception of a few parts. These watches have just recently become a trend in the current market; that is why avid watch collectors and even those who are not make it their goal to buy as many of this kind of watch as they can. Do bear in mind that these watches are not your usual kind of wrist watches where you can just get them anywhere you want. If you plan on buying one, then it is of utmost importance that you only buy one from a reliable wooden watch supplier or retailer. You will know that the retailer or supplier is reliable if they have been in the business of manufacturing watches that are of high quality for how many years already.
Several people cannot seem to take their hands off of these wooden watches because of the type of material most of them are made. Wood provides one an earthy feeling that is then thought of to keep the person more at feel with nature. You can always wear these watches in any occasion because they are actually very light when you get to use them compared with other types of watches that are available in the market. Once you get to wear it, the attention of any person you pass by seems to be always glued on the time piece that you are wearing.
One of the reasons why wooden watches are becoming suddenly popular among a lot of places is that a lot of people are still not used to them. When you get to buy a wooden watch for yourself, you will then be amazed at the many benefits you will be able to get from it besides its gorgeous appearance. This is most definitely why they are still very popular in the current market because there are still some who do not know of their existence and have not experienced the many benefits they offer. If you want to be trending and look your best in more ways than one, then it is time that you go get yourself a wooden watch. You can easily buy them now in online stores, so do make sure to get one as soon as possible!
Australia is forecast to enjoy at least another two years of solid economic growth, extending a quarter of a century without recession and dodging the deflation that dogs so many of its rich world peers.
The latest Reuters poll found analysts expect the $1.6 trillion economy to expand by 2.9 per cent this year, unchanged from the July poll.
Growth was seen at 2.8 per cent next year and 2.9 per cent in 2018, a result that would see Australia capture the Netherlands’ crown for the longest run without a recession.
Surging export volumes, record low interest rates and an historic boom in home building have already underpinned growth of 3.3 per cent in the year to June.
A recent revival in the value of commodity exports also promises to boost company profits, national income and tax receipts in coming months. Surging prices for coal alone could eradicate the country’s trade deficit and add 2 percentage points to nominal GDP.
The worst also seems to be over for a long slump in mining investment, which subtracted a huge 1.6 percentage points from GDP growth in the year to June.
“The Australian economy’s output performance, in aggregate, has been resilient in what remains a challenging environment,” said Westpac senior economist Andrew Hanlan. He is tipping economic growth of 3 per cent for both 2016 and 2017.
“That said, downside risks persist. World growth is sluggish, and global financial sector vulnerabilities remain.”
At home, jobs growth has turned sluggish and heavily weighted to part time work, restraining wage growth and adding to downward pressure on inflation.
Indeed, underlying inflation slowed to a record low of 1.5 per cent in the year to June and looks likely to have remained very subdued in the third quarter
Accelerating global growth means we are nearing the end of the Australian “profits recession”, write Credit Suisse strategists.
Aggregate earnings per share for the ASX 200 has dropped 13 per cent since the third quarter of 2014, but an expected pick-up in global economic growth in 2017 should help inspire single-digit EPS expansion in the year ahead. This backdrop of climbing earnings should help the benchmark top 200 index grind higher to 6000 by December 2017, the broker reckons.
“The coming end of the profits recession suggests a new phase of the market cycle,” they write. “The premium associated with growth stocks should diminish as profits growth becomes less scarce.”
Lowly valued companies are set to benefit, the strategists write, including the likes of Bluescope Steel, Caltex, Computershare, Macquarie Group and Myer. They add department store owner to their model portfolio.
The analysts also bring a global perspective to the ASX sectors, and they note:
- Australian heath care and infrastructure stocks trade at a biggest premium to their global peers.
- Aussie gold stocks are closing the valuation discount to their peers.
- Banks’ price-to-book premium is justified by the superior return on equity.
- Meanwhile, the Australian fund managers are some of the most expensive in the world. But they are also some of the most profitable.
The broker notes that the commodities “mini-cycle” continues, with more spending by China and an increase in infrastructure projects there should boost steel demand and support iron ore prices. Credit Suisse’s forecasts are:
- Iron ore could trend lower in the next calendar year to $US45/t because of a developing oversupply.
- The coal price rally is likely to peak out in 4Q16 then drift lower in 2017.
- Despite the recent plunge in the gold price, investment demand could be supported by the uncertainty of the US presidential election and earlier (and harder) than-expected Brexit timeline. We forecast $US1325/ounce by Dec 2016 and $US1450 by end 2017.
- Oil had a flat Q3 but started the fourth quarter with a price rally. Lower inventories in the US and flat production had set the stage for a rally before the OPEC output freeze agreement. The OPEC agreement would pose as a significant upside risk for prices, but currently it lacks crucial details and our analysts maintain crude forecast at $US44 a barrel in December 2016 and $US55 a barrel at the end of 2017.
Stop wasting money on interest fees! If you’re carrying a balance on one (or several) credit cards, you’re probably paying interest fees each month. Or if you need to make a large purchase that you can’t pay off for a while, you’ll likely start racking up substantial interest on your card. The fees might not seem like that big of a deal, but over time they can add up to a lot of dough and make it much more difficult and expensive to pay down your balance. Did you know there’s a way to avoid paying interest on your credit card balances? By taking advantage of a card with a long 0% intro APR, you can essentially get a free loan and pay down your balance without spending a dime in interest.
The question is, which cards offer the most competitive features and longest 0% intro APRs? We’ve done the research and found the best. In fact, with some of these cards the 0% intro APR is so outrageously long you’ll pay absolutely no interest until 2018!!! Our list of the top 0% intro APR cards is below.
Citi Simplicity Card
With an amazing 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, the Citi Simplicity Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) will take you all the way into 2018 without paying a dime in interest. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. There is a 3% balance transfer fee, but given the lengthy 0% intro APR period, it still might be worth transferring a balance to this card (to find out, use our free Balance Transfer Calculator). Additionally, there are no late fees, no annual fee and no penalty rates imposed. This means if you happen to be late with a payment, you won’t be penalized with a higher ongoing interest rate after the 0% intro APR period is over. It does require excellent credit, so if you’re in more of the good credit range consider Chase Slate, which is discussed below. We really like Citi Simplicity because of its super-long 21-month 0% intro APR, lack of late fees and $0 annual fee.
Citi Diamond Preferred Card
Similar to Citi Simplicity, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) features a spectacular 21-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases. It also has a very reasonable ongoing interest rate after the 0% intro period is up. If you’re transferring a balance, you will need to pay a 3% balance transfer fee, but paying no interest until 2018 could make it worthwhile. Take a look at our free Balance Transfer Calculator to see whether this card will work best for your needs. Additionally, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card has absolutely no annual fee and provides a free monthly Equifax FICO Score. You do need excellent credit to qualify for the card, so if you’re not necessarily in that range check out one of the cards listed below that only require good credit.
If you’re worried about paying a fee to move your balance from your current card(s) to a new card, worry no more. Chase Slate has absolutely no balance transfer fees for transfers completed within the first 60 days your account is open, which means you can transfer your balances from cards with high ongoing APRs to Slate without paying a cent in fees. Plus, you’ll enjoy a 15-month 0% intro APR on both balance transfers and purchases. And if you happen to have a ding or two on your credit reports, Chase Slate is available to those with good credit (rather than “excellent” credit), which is typically a credit score above 670. All this, and there is no annual fee.
Citi Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
With a nice balance of cash back rewards and an 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers, the Citi Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (a NextAdvisor advertiser) hits the spot. There is no annual fee, and the card is available to those with good credit (670+ credit score), but there is a 3% balance transfer fee. Citi Double Cash’s cash back potential is substantial, with an effective 2% back on every single purchase. You’ll get 1% back when you make the purchase and the other 1% when you pay for it, making this an ideal card for making a big purchase you may not be able to pay off for a while. You’ll also receive a free monthly Equifax FICO score, helping you to track your credit over time. Altogether this is a winner of a card, mixing generous cash back with a lengthy 0% intro APR and no annual fee.
Discover it — 18 month Balance Transfer Offer
Combining cash back rewards with a 18-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers and a low ongoing APR, Discover it packs a big punch. Transfers incur a 3% balance transfer fee, but this is pretty standard. Discover it also offers a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases. Plus, you’ll earn 5% cash back in categories that rotate each quarter (on up to $1,500 in purchases) and 1% back on everything else. Some of the past 5% categories include Amazon.com, gas and restaurants. There is no annual fee and you’ll get a free TransUnion FICO Score each month. As an added bonus, Discover it is available to those with average credit which is usually considered to be a credit score of 670 and up.
Banks are being forced to cut the interest rate premium they are charging new property investors, as lenders compete more fiercely in the investor mortgage market once again.
The mortgage market was split in two last year, after banks resumed charging property investors interest rates that were about 0.25 percentage points higher than owner-occupiers, something that had not occurred since the 1990s.
Now, however, the interest rate gap is narrowing, with several banks recently lowering what they are charging new landlord borrowers.
The change, which will only affect new customers, and not those with existing loans, comes after recent figures have also pointed to new lending rising for property investment – a market where the banking regulator has capped annual loan growth at 10 per cent in response to fears of a housing bubble forming.
Even so, financial regulators say they are more comfortable with lending standards in the housing market, including to investors. That is because banks have cut back on interest-only lending and are assessing borrowers’ living costs more realistically, key regulators said last week.
Dutch lender ING Direct on Friday was the latest to announce a cut-price mortgage deal for investors, offering new investors with a deposit of more than 20 per cent an interest rate of 3.99 per cent.
AMP, which was forced to briefly stop writing new loans last year after growing too quickly, is also charging property investors 3.99 per cent if they borrow more than $750,000. That is about 0.1 percentage points higher than its owner-occupier rate promoted to mortgage brokers.
Macquarie Group cut its fixed rates for investors earlier this month, with a three-year rate of 4.09 per cent.
Mortgage brokers say the trend is gathering pace, and the Reserve Bank observed the bout of competition in its Financial Stability Review on Friday. It played down the risks from banks targeting property investor lending, which it has previously seen as a “speculative” influence on the housing market.
“Competition for investor loans in particular has increased, and banks have recently narrowed the pricing differential between investor and owner-occupier loans,” the RBA said.
“But the tightening of lending standards in recent years has meant that the profile of this new lending is lower risk than it was a year or so ago.”
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority chairman Wayne Byres on Friday said the banking industry had “appreciably improved” lending standards, saying all lenders now stress-tested to make sure new customers could cope with interest rates rising to 7 per cent.
“There is no shortage of competition for the business of home loan borrowers, but we are keen to see the industry’s competitive instincts directed towards pricing, product features and customer service, rather than pursuing market share by reducing the quality of loans written,” Mr Byres said.
Earlier in the year, some banks also relaxed their deposit requirements for property investors in an attempt to fire up sagging rates of credit growth.
Everybody has a different approach to learning and the more we understand about the type of learner we are, the more effective our studying should become.
Howard Gardner first introduced us to the idea of Multiple Intelligences in 1983. He believes that there are several types of intelligences that can’t be simply defined from one IQ test. He categorises intelligences under the following headings;
1. Verbal linguistic – having a good verbal memory, being interested in words and how language works
2. Analytical / logical – being able to investigate and have a scientific approach to learning
3. Musical – being sensitive to sounds and rhythms
4. Visual spatial – being imaginative with a good visual memory
5. Kinaesthetic – being receptive to touching objects to enhance your memory
6. Interpersonal – being good in group work, listening to others
7. Intrapersonal – being aware of your own personal goals and motivations
8. Naturalist – understanding the link between nature and humans
It’s important to understand that these intelligences work together and it would be unwise to think of ourselves as having only one or the other. Labelling learners as a particular type of learner could stop them from exploring all of their intelligences. So instead we should think of ourselves as having dominant intelligences.
When you are next in a classroom ask yourself these questions to think about how you learn:
- When I hear a new word do I need to see it written down to know how it’s spelt?
- Am I interested in grammar and how English tenses are put together?
- Are my notes kept neatly in a methodical way?
- Do I keep a personal dictionary of newly learnt words?
- Does my personal dictionary help me to remember the words?
- How easy do I find it to hear differences in sounds?
- Does drawing pictures of new words help me to remember them in English?
- Does touching an object help me to remember what it’s called?
- Do I enjoy listening to the teacher and taking notes?
- Do I prefer working on my own or with other people?
- Do I know why I’m learning English?
This list of questions is obviously limited but it’s a good start towards becoming a more effective learner. The more you are aware about your dominant intelligences in the learning process the more you can exploit them to make learning a more enjoyable and rewarding journey.
Set up in the 1920s by James Carston, a Manchester tailor, the company has remained in the family and is now run by James’s grandson, Paul Carston. Employing fewer than 50 people, the company has a reputation for producing high-quality men’s shirts, which it sells by mail order, and has a loyal customer base. As Paul Carston says, ‘Once someone has tried our shirts, they tend to come back for more. Our customers appreciate the attention to detail and the high-quality fabric we use.’ And it’s the fabric they now use that makes the company almost unique in the world of men’s shirt manufacturers.
When Paul Carston took over running the company in 1999, he inherited a business that prided itself on using local well-paid machinists rather than sweatshop labour, and looked upon its employees as members of an extended family. Paul, a committed environmentalist, felt that the company fitted in well with his values. The shirts were made from 100 per cent cotton, and as Paul says, ‘It’s a completely natural fibre, so you would think it was environmentally sound’. Then Paul read a magazine article about Fair Trade and cotton producers. He was devastated to read that the cotton industry is a major source of pollution, and that the synthetic fertilisers used to produce cotton are finding their way into the food chain.
Paul takes up the story. ‘I investigated our suppliers, and sure enough found that they were producing cotton on an industrial scale using massive amounts of chemicals. Then I looked into organic cotton suppliers, and found an organisation of Indian farmers who worked together to produce organic cotton on a Fair Trade basis. Organic cotton is considerably more expensive than conventionally produced cotton, so I did the sums. I discovered that if we were prepared to take a cut in profits, we would only need to add a couple of pounds to the price of each shirt to cover the extra costs. The big risk, of course, was whether our customers would pay extra for organic cotton.’
Paul did some research into the ethical clothing market and discovered that although there were several companies producing casual clothing such as T-shirts in organic cotton, there was a gap in the market for smart men’s shirts. He decided to take the plunge and switch entirely to organic cotton. He wrote to all his customers explaining the reasons for the change, and at the same time the company set up a website so they could sell the shirts on the internet. The response was encouraging. Although they lost some of their regular customers, they gained a whole customer base looking for formal shirts made from organic cotton, and the company is going from strength to strength.
Coaching is a useful tool in today’s challenging world of business and commerce. Companies are downsizing, merging and restructuring and there is far more job transition than before. Sometimes managers are no longer equipped to do their work because their jobs have changed so much. They were originally trained to do one job but that training cannot be applied to the job they are doing today. Coaching is also one of the most powerful tools that a leader has in order to improve the performance of his team.
Coaching is a partnership between an individual or a team and a coach. For the purpose of this article we will refer to an individual but the concepts are exactly the same for a team. First of all the individual identifies his objectives. Then, through the process of being coached, he focuses on the skills he needs to develop to achieve those objectives. In professional coaching the individual begins by leading the conversation and the coach listens and observes. Gradually, as the coach begins to understand the individual’s goals, he will make observations and ask appropriate questions. His task is to guide the individual towards making more effective decisions and eventually achieving his objectives. Coaching looks at where the individual is now and where he wants to get to.
Between the initial interview and an individual achieving the goals he identified, there is a process in which the two parties meet for regular coaching sessions. The length of time each session lasts will be established at the start of the partnership. Between sessions an individual might be expected to complete specific tasks. A coach might also provide literature for the individual to study in preparation for the following session. Most coaches employ an “appreciative approach” whereby the individual identifies what is right, what is working, what is wanted and what is needed to get there. An appreciative approach focuses more on the positive rather than problems.
An individual who enters into a coaching partnership will usually adopt new perspectives and be able to better appreciate opportunities for self-development. Confidence will usually grow and the individual will think more clearly and be more confident in his roles. In terms of business, coaching often leads to an increase in productivity and more personal satisfaction. All of this leads to a growth in self-esteem.
In a coaching partnership the coach first needs to listen carefully in order to fully understand the individual’s situation. He needs to support and encourage forward-planning and decision-making. A coach also needs to help an individual recognise his own potential and the opportunities that are on offer. A good coach will guide an individual to fresh perspectives. Finally, the coach must respect the confidentiality of his partner.
Coaching can bring out the best in workers, highlighting what they can achieve if they are given the right support. Both individuals and teams can enjoy an increased level of motivation after receiving the right coaching. When individuals are keen to make progress in their jobs, they usually enjoy being coached and find the experience extremely useful.
What do we mean by relationship-building?
When we talk about the competency of relationship-building in the world of business, we are referring to building strong relationships with partners and clients – about using interpersonal skills to network in an effective way.
What does a competent relationship-builder do?
Somebody who is competent at relationship-building focuses on understanding the needs of the client and getting the best possible results. This competency promotes an ethic of client service and so an understanding and anticipation of a client’s changing needs is essential. Stress and conflict are other issues that a competent relationship-builder will manage – keeping composed and acting as mediator when conflicts arise.
How can I start to develop the competency of relationship-building?
First identify the business plan goals of your department and decide what your role is going to be in helping to achieve those goals. You will need to study the business plan and learn as much as possible about your clients’ activities, interests and needs. This information might be available in their own annual reports or in client surveys conducted by your company. Talking to your clients about how you can best meet their needs is also a sensible first step to take.
Seven steps to becoming an effective relationship-builder:
- Draw up a plan of what you need to do in order to give your clients what they want. Discuss your ideas with your line manager and then do what is necessary to implement the plan.
- When the plan has been set in motion, schedule regular meetings with your line manager to review the progress that you are making and make any necessary adjustments.
- When you are working as part of a team or group within a department or a company it is important to assess your contribution to the group’s work. Think about how your efforts help or hinder progress.
- Make a weekly analysis of your commitments. Set yourself a goal for each week so that you follow them through. Make an effort to do what you say you are going to do – and also, to do it by the time that you say it will be done. If you get into the habit of doing this it will become like second nature.
- Build up a file of contacts and classify them in a way that is meaningful for your particular work context. Then you will know exactly who to call with any queries or when you need information.
- Don’t just wait for feedback to come to you, request it from a variety of sources – from your line manager but also from colleagues, clients and people who you supervise. Listen to what they have to say and act accordingly.
- Build informal relationships with the people who are working around you. Make a point of greeting people who you normally don’t speak to. Ask them about their interests and make it a goal to practise small talk with them. Listen to what they say and remember so that you can ask about a particular interest the next time you meet.
What are competencies and why are they important?
- Some years ago when executives and managers talked about the type of employees they wanted to contract for their businesses they spoke of skills and qualifications. These words are still used but have been overshadowed by the term competencies. Competencies are a concept taken on board by Human Resource departments to measure a person’s appropriateness for a particular job.
- In simple terms a competency is a tool that an individual can use in order to demonstrate a high standard of performance. Competencies are characteristics that we use to achieve success. These characteristics or traits can include things like knowledge, aspects of leadership, self-esteem, skills or relationship building. There are a lot of competencies but they are usually divided into groups. Most organisations recognise two main groups and then have numerous sub groups which competencies can be further divided into.
There has been a lot written about competencies. It is easy to see how people can become easily confused by what a competency actually is. It is also essential that people in the world of business have a clear understanding of what different competencies are and, in particular, which competencies are of interest to them – either as an individual interested in self-development – or as an employer looking for the best candidate for a job.
- Competencies can be divided into two distinct types; technical competencies (sometimes referred to as functional) and personal competencies. As the name suggests, technical competencies are those which are related to the skills and knowledge that are essential in order for a person to do a particular job appropriately. An example of a technical competency for a secretary might be: “Word processing: able to word process a text at the rate of 80 words per minute with no mistakes.” Personal competencies are not linked to any particular function. They include characteristics that we use together with our technical competencies in order to do our work well. An example of a personal competency is: “Interpersonal Sensitivity: Demonstrates respect for the opinions of others, even when not in agreement.”
- As you can see from the examples above there is a particular way of expressing a competency. First the competency is given a title; for example “word processing”. Then a brief indicator or explanation is given as an example of the person’s aptitude in that competency; for example “able to word process a text at the rate of 80 words per minute with no mistakes.”
- Competencies are probably here to stay so it is worth thinking about your own competencies and trying to categorise them; first into the two sub-categories mentioned above and then into a more detailed list.