When you have experienced considerable success, it’s easy to cling to your strong suits—those areas where you exhibit clear brilliance. However, as quiet as it’s kept, there are probably other areas where you are less than brilliant and which desperately need attention. In fact, these “dim areas” may even wreck havoc on your career.
Believe it or not, even the most successful people experience performance gaps. Yet, often times they refuse to acknowledge professional shortcomings, fearing it will negate their “brilliance spree.” This is a huge mistake. How you deal with performance gaps—those areas where your performance is less than stellar—is critical to long-term career success. In fact, the Center for Creative Leadership published a recent white paper detailing how to bridge performance gaps and boost your career using innovative leadership strategies. You can read it here.
Don’t pretend that your performance gaps don’t exist. They exist for everyone! So, hack the gaps and do what’s necessary to maximize your overall performance.
Here are four ways to hack performance gaps and maximize your career success:
1. Discover the gaps. Take a “deep dive” and conduct a comprehensive assessment of your overall performance. Don’t merely dwell on the areas where you feel competent. Reach outside of your comfort zone and ask the hard questions—or have someone else conduct the analysis if the integrity of your results may be compromised. Once you discover where gaps exist, acknowledge them. Being honest about where you are inadequate is necessary to effectively tackle the gaps.
2. Find an expert. We rely on others who know more and better to provide insight where we lack it. Solving a performance gap is no different. If you need someone to walk you through the process, hire a consultant! If you need to develop a new skill set, find someone who can teach it. If conducting research or reading a book would solve the problem, do that. Whatever the case, discover where the missing pieces to your performance puzzle exist and put them together, one by one.
3. Close the gaps. Most of us don’t do what we know, which is the equivalent of not knowing. Instead of sitting idly by and hoping that your performance challenges will magically disappear; take strong, consistent action. Apply the expert advice you’ve “stockpiled” to help you to execute key changes and overhaul your performance. It’s not good enough to know—transformation requires action. And, action is the only way to close your performance gaps.
4. Re-examine the gaps. You’ll never know whether you’ve made progress (or regressed) unless you take the initiative to re-examine your performance. Yes— you’ve made some key changes. But, have they stuck? Are you doing things differently now? Does your overall performance reflect the new level of thinking and skill that you’ve acquired? If not, you’ll need to determine what went wrong and devise a new plan of action.
Hacking performance gaps is no walk in the park—but it’s a critical component of becoming truly successful. So, let’s get hacking!
To your success!
Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm specializing in professional development. Follow her on Twitter: @wsrapport or visit her Website, WordSmithRapport.com.