Is it possible that competence evaporates? The process of losing your skill or an area of expertise over time, does it happen?
Assume you are a master sales person. You thrive on in-person, face-to-face interactions. You read the body language, tell a story or two, and ask questions about family and life right after a brief discussion of the weather. Your competence at selling is high.
Then a pandemic emerges and you can’t be with people face-to-face. Now it’s an avatar, an email, or a text message. You still believe you have high competence in selling, only every skill you once used to sell is nearly obsolete.
Evaporated, gone, useful perhaps, but the environment for selling has changed dramatically. The future means you may have to close the deal differently.
The skills you build across time are earned. Often, earned the hard way, by hours and hours of doing, learning, and repeating.
Developing a high level of competence in any field doesn’t happen overnight.
Many people call themselves coaches in the workplace. Coaching is a profession that takes decades of careful practice and patience to hone the craft. You can read some books, watch some videos, and even go through specialized training, perhaps one-day earning an advanced certification.
Across time the methods shift. The social trends ebb and flow. The way of doing things slides.
Like a few drops of saline in a petri dish, things start to evaporate.
The competencies you acquire may be the foundational skills you need to move forward, yet many people hold on to those hard-earned methods for far too long.
When you want less evaporation of your competence, you’re going to have to do something new. You’re going to have to explore different things.
It’s a chance, and some risk, but getting left behind while you watch things evaporate isn’t ideal either.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.