6 Keys to Being Supercompetent

Laura Stack

To be successful in the business world and reach your full potential in life, it's not enough to be simply competent. Our modern, super-competitive world is full of opportunities for the go-getter, but to take advantage of them, it's essential to become "SuperCompetent." The SuperCompetent person is one that companies fight to get, fight to keep, nurture as team players, and see as future leaders in their business growth.

You become Supercompetent by using six keys to productivity:

Key 1: Activity. Activity reflects importance, direction, and priority. Being busy and being productive are different. Activity involves knowing your goals, and achieving them in a way that wastes little energy and time. To boost Activity, try these tips:

• Know why you work hard and what you are trying to achieve. You can’t be highly productive if you don’t know what you’re working for. Set goals and dreams, and work to achieve them. Learn what makes you tick, own your destiny, and focus on your mission.

• Know what to do, when to do it, and why. Take initiative—do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

• Create systems to perform tasks more efficiently, so you can leave the office on time. Don’t be gulled into working harder by stuff that was supposed to make your life easier.

• Regularly rest and recharge yourself. Take a break when you need to! As long as you don’t become a slacker, taking time off can be one of the healthiest, most productive things you do.

• Do the day’s most profitable and valuable tasks first. Learn to delegate. Put the most important tasks at the top of your list, and work through them first. Productivity is about reaching high value goals. Nobody cares how many things you crossed off your list or how busy you were last week if key projects fall through the cracks.

Key 2: Availability. Protect your time from everyone who wants a piece of it. Say no when appropriate, delegate, cancel unnecessary meetings, let some tasks go. To hone Availability, try these tips:

• Refuse requests when appropriate. Say no graciously. If you’re good at what you do, you’ll always get requests for help. But you can’t do it all.

• Set appropriate boundaries. You’ll face six Ds: Deadlines, Disruptions, Dependencies, Discrepancies, Distractions, and Drop-Ins. Don’t let others use these to slow you.

• Push a task down to the lowest level of responsibility. Don’t waste your time on tasks other people can do more cheaply. Delegate, and let people do their jobs without micromanagement.

• Schedule your day realistically around your key activities. Before you accommodate other people’s needs, tend to your own first. Control your schedule.

• Weigh the results of attending meetings against the results you could produce. Instead of dropping everything to attend a meeting, see if you can send a proxy, attend by phone, or cancel it. Availability means more than just being there for others when needed.

Key 3: Attention. Attention is the ability to concentrate—to be focused on getting the job done, on the task at hand. To boost Attention, take five tips:

• Stay focused on your work. Don’t get distracted. Any interruption breaks your concentration, wasting minutes.

• Leave distractions for downtime. When you’re supposed to be working, work. Wait for breaks to check social media.

• Limit your multi-tasking in order to maximize your productivity. You can’t focus on more than one or two things at a time. Prune your task list.

• Don’t allow socializing to overwhelm your productivity. Yes, you need to interact with the people around you—but don’t let it get out of hand.

• Don’t let your productivity technology take over your life. At the end of the day, turn off all your tools. Attend to your work. You’ll get more done—and feel much better.

Key 4: Accessibility. Accessibility is the ability to organize inputs and outputs. Being productive requires being organized, having systems so you can find what you want, when you want it. To gain Accessibility, apply these tips:

• Develop simple systems, so you know where everything is at all times. A clean desk is a sign of a productive mind.

• Set up an easy-to-follow scheduling system, and stick to it. Always know where you’re supposed to be at any particular time. Manage your appointments, meetings, things to do; and reminders.

• Don’t get distracted by technology. You are the boss, not your PDA or smartphone. If you organize your files, emails, and other communications as they come in, you won’t be overwhelmed later.

• Track your contacts and communications. Track contact information, histories, and pending communications.

• Don’t waste travel time. Use the time to get ahead so you’ll have more free time later. Prepare for trips in advance. When you travel, rather than just sit back and relax, work a bit. You can then spend more time enjoying life at home.

Key 5: Accountability. Accountability recognizes that the buck stops here. It’s about the promises you make to yourself and others, being responsible for who and where you are. Practice these precepts to achieve high Accountability:

• Take responsibility for your time and productivity. Never blame anyone else.

• When a process seems inefficient, make it easier for everyone. Just because something is done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it now.

• Rather than waste productive time, get right to work. Breaks are necessary, but don’t overindulge in them.

• When you have all the information you need to proceed, make decisions immediately. Don’t let worry or social inertia slow you; motion beats meditation every time.

• Understand the difference between being busy and being productive. Don’t let little tasks keep you from achieving big things. Accountability boils down to personal responsibility for your productivity.

Key 6: Attitude. Attitude is your motivation, drive, and pro-activity. To hone your attitude, take five tips:

• Keep an eye on your stress. Negative emotions, stress, worry, and anger impair your productivity.

• Even when a task is monumental, keep working at it until you whittle it down to size (manageable subtasks).

• Unleash your creativity and apply it to problems at work. You may discover a new, simpler way of doing things.

• Learn to communicate clearly. Avoid misunderstandings and mistakes. Learn to deal with difficult personalities, emphasize teamwork, and play nice.

• Look for a silver lining in situations. Be positive. Reframe challenges and problems as opportunities. Some of the most spectacular successes start as spectacular failures.

First appeared in Leadership Excellence www.leaderexcel.com