5 Ways To Determine Which New Skills Will Give You The Greatest Benefit

In our fast-changing world, we must be willing to continuously invest in ourselves and have a plan for upgrading our skills.

The concept of skill development is extremely important because when we improve existing skills or develop new ones, we’ll avoid being left behind, especially by new technology, and we’ll avoid the frustration of not knowing how to do something that could be vital for our career, business or personal life.

And if we have a plan for developing new skills, we’ll stay current with the latest developments in our industry or market, and we’ll be seen as one of the leaders or go-to experts by others.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In a previous post, I outlined how to develop a new skill. Before this, we actually need to identify what skill or skills we want to develop.

The general rule that applies here when we want to strengthen a skill or develop a new one is we need to take a holistic view of where we are and where we want to go in terms of our own development. By doing so, we will be able to hone in on what is most important to us and better leverage the time we invest in our skill development.

Over the past year, one area I have identified for improvement is being able to create learning programs. Now, learning itself is such a big topic and can involve many things, so I narrowed my focus down to learning about how to create online learning programs. As a result, for the last few months, I have enrolled in many online courses, not just to learn what the courses offered, but also to learn about how the courses were structured, how they were delivered, and what experiences they offered the learner. What I have learned has been extremely beneficial in being able to structure my own online programs.

Here are five ways to determine what new skills you can develop so that you can become more productive, excel in your career or business, and achieve the things you want to with less hassle and less frustration.

  1. Review your previous year. Reviewing your year requires you to go backwards first in order to move forward. What were some areas in which you did not make as much progress as you would have liked? If you had set goals, which ones did you not achieve and why? Ask yourself, What is the one skill, if I had developed, would have made a difference to my results last year?
  2. Identify your current priorities. Whether you have set New Year’s resolutions or goals, they will help determine what your priorities are for the year. It is highly advisable to consider both your personal and professional life. What would you like to achieve? What have your set as targets or milestones for the year? Where do you think you need to improve in order to meet those targets or milestones?
  3. Conduct a skills needs analysis. In the training world, a training needs analysis is often conducted to determine what training is required. Similarly, by conducting a skills needs analysis, it will be much easier to focus on the areas that are of higher importance. This is particularly helpful for those who have a good range of skills in different areas and are unsure about what skill to develop. This will require you to be totally honest with yourself, which leads to the next point.
  4. Clarify what’s been preventing you from being the best you can be. We can all become better at what we do. As progressive beings, personal growth is one of the things that drive us however, we may have blocks or beliefs that hold us back or prevent us from expressing who we really are. For example, you may have a desire to own your business but may be questioning your ability to build a successful business. Those doubts could simply come down to lack of confidence or lack of skills. Oftentimes, the more competent we are, meaning we have the right knowledge and skills, the more confident we will be.
  5. Select role models you aspire to emulate. Sometimes we look at someone who is really good at what they do and think they are so “lucky” or “talented” and we’ll never be able to be like them. The truth is you are right. You can never be like anyone else because we’re all unique individuals. However, we can certainly identify the skills our role models have, and find out what they did to develop those skills. We can all learn any skill we want to if we’re committed and have a plan.

If we don’t take the time to determine what skills to develop, chances are we’ll not make much progress this year and can possibly be in worse-off position than we currently are because things are changing all the time.

Action Step: Choose one of the ideas listed above and invest 30-60 minutes detailing how that idea applies to you, while linking it back to a skill you’d like to develop. Once you have done that, read this post which will detail the specific steps you can take to develop that skill.

If you do apply these ideas, in a relatively short period of time, you will notice a radical improvement in your skill level in the area you have chosen.

Question: What is the one idea you will apply in order to determine which skill you’d like to develop?

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  • Jane Ransom

    These are great, Neel! I find #s 3 & 4 especially helpful, thanks!

    • Neel Raman

      I’m really glad you found it helpful Jane! Thanks for suggesting the post too! A skills needs analysis is a really powerful way to identify which skills to improve.