Why Closing the Skills Gap is Critical to Your Success
Imagine for a moment you are standing on the edge of a cliff, and you desire to get to a cliff directly across from you, and a deep canyon is below. So, the question becomes, how will you get across the gap from cliff A to cliff B?
You can't physically leap from one side to the other as you'd fall short and meet your demise.
Fortunately, a rope bridge spans between the cliffs, so there is a way to get from one side to the other, but it will take skill and balance. Do you have the skills necessary to make it to the other side?
Consider the above a metaphor for the skills gap. You know where you are and envision where you want to be, but there is a gap between the two—and understandably, closing the skills gap hinges on being proactive and analyzing the skills gap.
How to Identify Skill Gaps and Take an Honest Inventory
When it comes time to assess where you are and what the gaps are, you need to self-assess honestly and it is best to seek workplace feedback.
You may choose to get a 360 degree assessment, which entails getting feedback from your boss, peers, clients, and people who report to you. It's a valuable assessment as everyone you ask may see a different side of you. Receiving feedback from everyone gives you a more complete picture.
Another option is to seek feedback from your manager or director on a periodic basis. This can (and should) be done more often than at annual performance review. Discuss your next step to reach your career goals. Get clarity on what you need to get there. Where are you today? How feasible is it based on the feedback you receive?
And what skills do you need to demonstrate to be a candidate for the role you want?
Once you identify your skill gaps, you're one step closer to arriving at your goal.
The Skills Gap is an Opportunity, Not a Roadblock
While a skills gap analysis identifies skills you have not yet developed, it's important to view the skills you lack not as a weakness. Instead, see these 'gaps' as opportunities. You now know what you need.
A growth mindset is the key to success in your career and career development. You always want to look for ways to learn more, grow more and to have curiosity. Continuously learning new skills and gaining knowledge demonstrates a growth mindset (a skill in itself!)
The gaps and opportunities are more about where you are on your journey, and your journey doesn't have a final destination. Milestones, yes; not a final destination. You are continually growing, constantly expanding, and are a passionate learner.
What's the Best Way to Begin Bridging the Skills Gap?
So, where do you start, and how do you begin?
What skill would have the most significant impact if you were to develop one thing?
Begin by focusing on the primary skill to be developed and set the rest aside.
Let’s use time management as an example. Time management is a critical skill. If you lack time management or organizational skills, your performance will be negatively impacted in many ways. Improving your time management and organization skills has a multiplier effect. You improve your time management skills and you'll be able to enhance your reputation and adherence to organized meetings. You will be able to make time for networking and growing strong relationships. It's fair to say that time management is pivotal to your success. A keystone habit is one that is foundational and other skills grow easier on a strong foundation. Time management is a keystone habit.
Block time on your calendar to develop the skills you need to master. It's important not to overcommit to develop too many skills simultaneously. Limit to one or two at a time. And if you are seeking mastery of a skill, focus and practice are imperative.
Remember, bridging the skills gap is an adventure and a learning process.
How to Address Skills Gaps Head-on
Facing gaps head-on requires a plan. Even if it has multiple steps and you can only execute one task at a time --- at least have a big plan in place, and schedule those multiple steps. Don’t shy away from the opportunity to address the skills gap and go all in!
With determination, a plan, and an unstoppable spirit, you will grow and conquer. It's possible to take your career to new heights once you master how to address skill gaps directly.
You Closed the Skills Gap, Now What?
Bravo, you've closed your skills gap – it's time to spread the word!
It's not enough to close the gap; now, it's time to make it known and share that information far and wide through unabashed self-promotion. This is no time to be a shrinking violet.
You've done the work, mastered the skill, and now it's GO time.
Create a bit of buzz. Update your LinkedIn profile and update your resume.
It's time to apply for the coveted position because nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Take that leap of faith in confidence and cross over the rope bridge with your fresh new skills.
Partner with a Coach Who Can Teach You How to Identify Your Gaps/Opportunities
Having worked for 30 years in Corporate America, rising to VP of a global company, with decades of experience in training and development, I'm uniquely qualified to partner with clients as a coach in career development.
What are your goals for the year? Do you have the skills to reach your goals? If no, what skills are you missing? Together we can decide how to put resources to work and you will develop the skills you need to reach your goals. Let's close gaps and get you the promotions and recognition you deserve.
Ready to assess your skills and close the gap by partnering with a coach?
Schedule a FREE 30-minute discovery call to get one step closer.
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