So in a previous post (Part2), continuing our discussion about taking your business or career to the next level, I talked about implementing your Vision and outlined some behavioral characteristics that I believe are critical to the process. Those characteristics are AttitudeFocus and Knowledge.

And in last post (Part 3), I explained my three elements of Knowledge and they are SkillsResources and Experience. And remember that this is how I see it. I know there are many divergent thoughts and opinions on these topics out there but I’m giving you this information in what I would say is designed to be foundational in nature, meaning they are building blocks upon which additional ideas and methodologies are built on. So it’s really important that I keep this stuff simple at this point – because it IS! And it’s always easier to learn and integrate into your thinking if you so choose.

Now I also hinted in my discussion about Knowledge that I would soon be talking about leveraging it. And that’s what I’m going to do here in terms of the basics.

And by the way, if you’ve possibly had the sense that all of this information I’ve given you so far feels a bit like an outline? Well, your instincts are correct! That’s exactly what it is.

So what about this business of leveraging your knowledge to help bring your vision to life in one form or another?

Well first, what does the term “leveraging” mean here? In our case, I think of it as adding, compounding or multiplying the value of your knowledge in tangible ways to produce positive outcomes for your business or career.

So I would look at leverage as it applies to each of my elements of Knowledge. Again, Skills, Resources and Experience. And within each of those elements I divide them into two categories: Internal and External.

One of the most important, and often one of the most difficult things to manage, is the prioritization of your skills.

So let’s start looking at it with that structure in mind.

First off, let’s talk about Skills. On the internal side, from my perspective, one of the most important, and often one of the most difficult things to manage, is the prioritization of your skills. In other words, which of your skills produce the most positive results? Can you answer that question? It may take a little thought but invest the time and write it out. Make a chart or grid or spreadsheet if that helps. Anything the makes it clear to you.

The benefits of this should be obvious. Too many people spend too much of their time doing things that don’t produce good results. I’ve seen it a lot and I’m guilty of it myself.

But before I go any further on that, let me clarify something. I’m talking about making priority decisions that have the most direct and positive effect on your business or career. I’m not necessarily talking about making choices of the heart, which may refer to something that you’re highly skilled at, passionate about and love doing. Sometimes those things can and do represent longer-term time investments that may contribute to a good business-related outcome down the road. But, they may take you out of service for a period of time in the short run. So that’s another decision you have to make. And it’s not to say you can’t do both. You just have to figure that out.

So, does it sound to you like there are some aspects of time management involved here? Probably so. Unfortunately, when the subject of time management comes up – and it’s a really big topic – most people cringe at least little. And I’m not really going to get into that here, but prioritizing your Skills probably, by the very nature of it, requires some time management by default.

The more you understand the relationship between your skills and your business or professional outcomes, the more likely it will be that you can effectively apply those skills in the process. Of course, the more skills you have, the more difficult it may be. And frankly, I’m one of those people and this is a challenge I have to deal with on regular basis.

There really isn’t much in my business in terms of the daily activities and functionality that I can’t do and do fairly well. On top of that, I love what I do in the pure sense. The only time that is diminished is if I happen to be working with a difficult client. That doesn’t happen often, thankfully. When it does, there’s only one solution – lose the client.

But if you are one of those multi-skilled people yourself, and I imagine many of you are, the challenge is to understand the priorities and be disciplined enough to think it through and make decisions that will ultimately help move your vision forward.

Now, how about the External applications. This is a little different. Here I’m referring to using your skills through interaction with an external entity of some kind. Usually that’s another company or an organization but it could be an individual as well.

These interactions may involve contractual applications, strategic partnerships or relationships, or other kinds of transactional activities. The possibilities may seem endless and probably they are, but the questions we need to answer have some similarity to our previous discussion.

You need to understand which of your skills have the most value external to your own business. And that may involve understanding market needs and interests, or the needs and interests of specific entities. When you pair those two things together, it should become much clearer to you where the potential opportunities may exist. This is a straightforward exercise. But it does require some thought and effort. Although, what meaningful thing doesn’t?

The good news is that when you take the time to understand even these basic ideas I’ve given you here, you’ll be in a much better position to leverage your knowledge and take your business or career to the next level.

Next, we’ll continue this discussion as we talk about leveraging the second element of Knowledge and that is Resources. And remember, if you have any questions or thoughts on any of this, reach out. There are many ways to communicate with us and I love to hear from you.

Destination: Next Level Part 5 >>

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