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Skills Gaps

HOW TO IDENTIFY AND OVERCOME SKILLS GAPS!

In life and in our careers we come across skills that we are good at some we are even great at and then their are those skills that we really struggle with. This could be communication, emotional intelligence, building rapport or just general communication skills and the worst one which has been shown to be one of the most feared skill of all is Public Speaking.

At times we have to get better at a skill because it holds us back from pursuing our dreams or its important to develop interpersonal relationships as we care for someone and if we don’t connect, we may miss out on something special. To go for that dream job we may need to be more confident, or learn how to articulate our self better. No matter what the gap is you can always find a way to build that skill just like you build a muscle.

Identify

swot_img2SWOT Analysis

Doing a SWOT Analysis can help identify our Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Once we identify things we are not so good at we can focus on what we need to do to develop this weakness and use our strengths to build on our weakness’s where possible.  If you have never done a SWOT Analysis before you could ask someone that will help you.
NOTE: This person should know you reasonably well and be willing to be honest and constructive, not critical.
Follow the steps below to discover more about yourself and have fun.
Step 1. Agree to be honest with yourself. This is not to make you feel bad or inadequate, this is to identify where you need to focus to obtain the skill or skills you want to be better at.
Step 2. Get a sheet of paper and divide one page into 4 sections, label each section as shown in the image.
Step 3. Start with your Strengths and write as many as you can, communication, organisational skills, time management, dealing with people, team building, things like this. if you have trouble thinking of any then start with what makes you happy.
Step 4. Then go to your weaknesses and list those, this could be, saying no, poor communication, always being late. keep in mind a strength and threat could be the same. An organised person gets more tasks given to them as they get the job done, this could lead to a weakness of taking on too much.
Step 5. Look at your Strengths and Weaknesses and list the threats. This can come from Weaknesses and can also come from Strengths, again if you are supportive and always there for friends this can be a Weakness as you could be called upon and not say no, therefore not putting your needs first.
Step 6. Look at all sections that have been completed and look where their may be some opportunities. If you never say no in fear of reaction of disappointing, you may need to learn to become assertive, if you have trouble communicating a communications course may be helpful. These are opportunities to address weaknesses and reduce threats.         
Here is an example of identifying a weakness and seeing the threat that is created.
A weakness may be you avoid conflict as you don’t know how to deal with it and if you say something you may upset someone. This can happen in personal environments and work environments.
The Threat could be this means you never ask for what you want as this may lead to disappointment of fear of upsetting someone or not pleasing them, so you feel disappointed and unhappy about not having things or not going places you desire. Holding back can lead to unhappiness and feelings of being unfulfilled in many aspects of life. Dealing with conflict can be done in a very positive way so that everyone is happy or at least satisfied and no one is missing out.

What is holding you back

Sometimes we hold ourselves back from doing what we truly desire mostly because of fear, What will they think, what if I fail, what if I look silly, what if i disappoint? sometimes we just don’t know where to start. The good news is you can start here, next is the library, or an audio program, career advice or a short course. Their are many ways to get started but you need to have a clear plan of what you would like to do, so fist identify what holds you back. Sometimes its excuses I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, in most cases its fear. Look at my acronym for fear and ask yourself if its real. In most cases its not but even if it is real you have to decide if you would like it to be different. Simply learning a better way to communicate can have a significant impact on everything that you do.
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

Overcome

Make a Plan

Part of making a plan is finding the people or the course or even the resources that can assist in the plan being able to come to life. Resources can be people or things such as books and audio programs a short course or even setting a goal. What ever you want, you must plan and take action on that plan for things to be different. As you may have heard before “if you keep doing what you have always done you will keep getting what you have always got”

So make an action plan on what you are going to do today towards just one of your weaknesses and you will be on the road to better things today.

Example
Weakness – doing to many tasks and not getting the important tasks completed.
Threat – Deadlines not being met and tasks not being completed
Opportunity – Learn how to prioritise and not get distracted
Action Plan – Plan my day before it started and prioritise and allocate times to be completed
Outcome – A more efficient day, completed tasks, less Stress

We hope we have helped you fill in some of the Gaps.

“Old dogs can’t learn new tricks”

……..YES THEY CAN!

This saying has been around for longer than I can remember and probably longer than my father has been around which is 67 years this May. Like a lot of other saying that really don’t make a lot of sense or are so far from the truth and this one is right up there.

No matter how old you are you can learn new tricks in fact you can achieve many great things. Just take a leaf out of Louise Hay book, she is a great example of a woman who went through many tragic experiences as a child and teenager and then recovering from Cervical Cancer as an adult, at the age of 70 she founded Hay House publishing and is living an extraordinary life.

At times our language can trap us into limiting beliefs, stopping us from reaching our true potential. Think about when you use the word try, I will try and get there, I will try and make this work, I will try to call you. This is one of the worst words for ensuring you have a good excuse, Rather than saying I’m not going to make it, or I don’t want to attend or I can’t call you today. This language would free us from guilt and release us from great pressure at times.

What about the language of, I’m not smart enough, I’m not tall enough, I’m not educated enough, these limiting beliefs can stop us from going after what we deeply desire.

Listening to your language can bring about a greater awareness and then you have the ability to change the negative language to a more positive language. This brings about a more positive emotion which can reinforce what you want to achieve opposed to what you think you cant.

Simply reminding yourself and say “I can do this opposed to I will try. I am smart enough to achieve this, look at what I have done so far. Can be a great message and constant reminder.

Self talk

Lets not forget about the language we are using in our head, the language that no one else can hear. This is just as destructive as we say this without anyone knowing we are. Listen to your self talk, is it limiting you from your true potential? This can be more harmful than what we say outside to others. The next time your language in your head is negative and limiting, instantly change this to what you really want and watch the changes occur.

Think about your language over the next few weeks (both internally and externally) and see where you can become more aware of using better, stronger and more positive language to get you moving in the direction of where you want to go. Then think about what you want to achieve and don’t let your language or limiting beliefs hold you back.

Visit our website http://www.mantratraining.com.au/ and see what we have to offer or come and talk to us about creating language that supports your future.

Or read about my journey to Kokoda, http://blog.mantratraining.com.au/ it was a year ago today that we walked proudly into the Kokoda Village……this was a time where my self talk got me through some very big challenges and I succeeded. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and had my self talk not been in check I would not have succeeded.

Donna Moulds – CEO/Director

 Donna Moulds – Mantra Training & Development

Getting a good head start could be the difference between achieving your goals and not. The power in writing them down in indescribable and to say the least powerful.

I am writing this on the 1st January 2013

al-inspiring-quote-on-how-to-achieve-greatness Yes that’s correct on the first day of the new year I am writing a Blog on Goal setting, not because I don’t have a life but more importantly that I have a great   life and want it to be better. The quote that is to the right is so true and I think we often forget that we do have a choice in everything we do. When we take 100% responsibility for our choices we take responsibility for our failures and our successes.

I have already set my Goals for 2013 and am in the process of writing them down in detail and then writing my action steps to move me closer to these each day. Last year seemed to go so fast and before I and many others knew it Christmas was here. So I decided that I didn’t want the year to fly by without a plan for what I really and truly want for me, my family and my team at Mantra Training & Development in 2013.

So I thought this is no better time than to do another more detailed Blog on Goal setting. I had written one in the middle of last year and as I still believe very much in goals and action toward them I would expand even further.

I once heard Anthony Robbins say that if you are not growing you are dying, and I am still growing every day and will continue to do so in many ways. We can grow in all areas of our life, Financially, Spiritually, Relationships can grow and most importantly our knowledge can grow .

You may think you don’t set goals but in one way or another we all set goals, they can be a small goals of getting somewhere on time if you are often late. It could be to get a pay rise or promotion in your current career. We set bigger goals for fitness, and exercise or to give up smoking or drinking for a Month, year or for good. many people will have a New Years Resolution (Bad idea as they are often short lived)

I have been setting goals since I was very young; however I am not sure that I knew I was setting goals. I would decide I wanted something or to go somewhere and then I would find a way to do it. As I have looked back over many years of doing this and also being a keen observer of others, I have noticed a few key facts that are fairly consistent.

Why do we achieve some Goals and not others?

 Let me see if I can shed some light on what I think are some of the reasons for success and failure to reach our goals.

 If you fail to plan you plan to fail “Jim Rohn”

 TRY and moving away from goals opposed to moving toward goals!

 TRY – This word drives me crazy and is used so frequently when it is an excuse word. What I mean by that is, it lets you off the hook….. I will try to get there…..I will try to lose weight…….I will try to stop smoking…….I tried to call. Lets look at each one of these and break it down.

Someone asks you out and you say “I will try to get there” what they may have wanted to say is “I don’t want to go but if I say I will try and get there and don’t make it I know I tried

I will try and lose weight, really! How do you try, you either do lose weight by doing something differently, like walking round the block each day and eating smaller portions, or you don’t!

The last one is I tried to call…… What about, “I called and you didn’t answer” or “ I Did call and left a voicemail message”

You see I use this activity in my training…..I ask someone to try and pick up a chair, they pick it up and I say no I asked you to try, so they pretend its heavy and can’t lift it, again I say no now you didn’t pick up the chair. I often get looked at with frustration until it clicks…..You either pick up the chair or you don’t….NO TRYING! “Anthony Robbins”

 Moving Away from Goals V Moving Toward Goals

 If you don’t achieve your goals someone else will “Jim Rohn”

 What do I mean by moving away from goals?

 When you are moving away from something it is generally because you have a negative outcome where you are, so you want to move away from it (use Fear or Pain as a good example). Take a heart attack for example, you may need to lose weight change your diet and exercise, which you were not doing before, hence why you have had a heart attack. So when you get away from the risk you tend to go back to old habits.

What we should be doing consistently is setting toward Goals with positive outcomes, let me give you an example;

In August 2011 I set a goal to walk the Kokoda track and I was specific about a number of reasons for setting this goal. I understand this is a big one however the same concept applies t small goals as well.

Smart format applied

Specific – To walk the Kokoda Track in April 2012

Measurable – Researched the most reputable company to do the trek with, costed flights, trek gear and time frames that fitted in with my daughter being away on school holidays.

Achievable – A plan was required with a deadline and results focused to ensure I would be successful (it was truly achievable with a plan)

Relevant –   It was relevant in a number of ways both physically and emotionally and also one of my highest values is growth “I was definitely going to grow

Timely – I had a number of deadlines and it was the perfect time in my life to do this journey

Whilst a lot more in-depth planning and reasoning behind this goal, I am sure you can see the concept. Take the time to think of a small goal you want to achieve and use the SMART format to set the goal. Then set some bigger Goals and have a clear action plan to start moving you in the direction of achieving them.

Here are a few additional steps you can take to ensure you keep momentum.

  1. Write them down and stick it on your bathroom mirror so you see them every day
  2. Take 10 Minutes a day to so something toward planning or achieving these goals, as little as 10 minutes a day can work.
  3. Say them out loud, tell people about it so they can support you getting there.
  4. Get an accountability buddy to keep you on track
  5. Even if you fall off the horse so to speak don’t give up just get back on the horse.
  6. Make sure you reward yourself when you achieve the goal or get to a major milestone.

I look forward to hearing about your goals and if you need any help to set goals feel free to contact Mantra Training & Development and we can help you not only set the goals, we can help you create a plan to achieve your goals in 2013.

Have an amazing year and remember to enjoy the journey.

  Donna

Jean McIntyre

Love

Jean McIntyre talks about how smart small businesses can use the opportunity of the introduction of the Carbon Price on July 1 to really highlight their environmental credentials to the market.

By Jean McIntyre

Well, Mr Abbot and the Coalition are doing a damn fine job of peddling to the public about the alleged huge impact the Carbon Price will have on households.

They are already gearing many businesses up to start charging much higher prices on everything – to be blamed of course on the carbon price.

A few things are definitely true.  Yes, the price of some things will go up.  Yes, some businesses that currently benefit from cheaper products created by companies that have little regard for their impact on the environment – will suffer.  Polluters will pay and people that buy from polluters will pay.  And yes, those businesses will likely try to pass on their increased costs to their consumers.

So, you may ask, how could this be of benefit to small businesses?

Innovate on the environment

The great thing about being a small business is that you can easily choose (and quickly change) your suppliers, your consumption habits and your practices to be much more environmentally responsible.

There are a few programmes available to help small businesses to get on board with smart enviro practices.  Click here to see what the ACT Government has to offer.

If you are able to make significant changes to your business, you’ll find that three things will happen:  first,  you’ll reduce your costs over time (by buying from suppliers unencumbered by the carbon price); second, you may gain carbon credits which you may at some time in the future be able to trade – at the very least you’ll contribute positively to the environment and third, people will start to take note and choose your business over others that don’t have such practices.

The easiest way to limit your exposure to the carbon price is to buy from suppliers who don’t pollute or who don’t buy from polluters.

Tony Abbot Creates an Opportunity for Business

There’s no doubt about it.  Mr Abbot has the general population running scared.  People are walking around with furrowed brows – waiting for the cost of living to become unmanageable.

Come first of July, people will be paying very close attention to prices and on the lookout for businesses that put them up.

This is your opportunity – if you have taken action to improve your environmental practices – including procurement – for your business, you will be able to declare that you have NO CARBON PRICE INCREASES and that you are an environmentally responsible business.  If it works for Coles and Woolworths it can work for you.

There will be no time like right now to establish your environmental credentials and reputation in the market.

What are you waiting for?

So my advice is to get on with it.  Take the next few days and weeks to review all your suppliers, put in place better waste management strategies, work on saving energy and water and – well – get out and plant some trees :).

The reward should be new and loyal customers and a reputation as good corporate citizens.

I’d love to hear about what are your plans for your business to benefit from the Carbon Price.

Jean Mc

Jean McIntyre talks about how small business people can use YouTube to get their message out and attract attention to their website.

By Jean McIntyre ( Marketing Angels)

Last year I posted on 5 things small business owners can do over the slow period to boost their business.  One of those was to make a YouTube video.  This month I’d like to explore that a bit because it’s a lot of fun and can be a great tool for your business.

So here’s my ideas on what you could do on YouTube:

  1. Get someone you know to write a song about your business and how great it is, get your staff and some customers together to sing it and record it with a video camera.  Get some free online editing software and add your logo, credits and some key messages on the end.
  2. Record yourself working on your computer doing whatever you do (writing a training program, designing a logo, entering bookkeeping data, preparing a tax return).  Record a commentary over the top about the key steps in the process – of course with your branding attached.
  3. Identify 5 tips in your area of expertise and record a video of you with a whiteboard – going through the 5 tips and explaining them in detail.  Tip: if you are going to record yourself wear a nice suit or dress, do your hair and makeup so you look your best.
  4. Think of something you are expert at (let’s say it’s staff recruitment), write a script about it and hold (and film) a puppet show about it.  You can get your family or your staff to make some really interesting puppets and nice backdrops.

Those are the cheap ways to get on You Tube.  Of course if you have some resources to put into it you can get a short video professionally produced and put it up.

A warning about both options though,  people love to share videos – particularly of people doing interesting things.  But if your video is just a film version of your marketing material – trust me – people won’t view it or comment on it and certainly won’t email or re-post it for others to view.

The way to get it shared online is to make it intersting.  Videos that are funny, quirky, controversial or tug at the heart (or purse) strings will more easily get traction on YouTube.

So get to it.

Nothing to stop you from sitting in front of your webcam and giving it a go.  Don’t forget though to put a link to your website on your video so people can find you.  Also use the tools on YouTube to post it to Facebook, Twitter, your blog and any other social media sites you are involved with.

I’d be really pleased to see some links from readers to videos they’ve put on You Tube.

Jean Mc

Helping Canberra small businesses to Get Smarter Marketing

By Jean McIntyre (Marketing Angels)

Jean Mc talks about the importance of supplementing advertising with other marketing tactics and how a referral plan can help you grow your business.

I’ve had a few chats this week with clients about advertising.  The comments are always the same:  “I’m spending megabucks on advertising and I hardly get any work from it!”

I’m with them in some ways.  In my view the advertising industry is all about money, money, money and getting as much of yours as possible.  Yes it’s very expensive generally and the return on investment is sometimes difficult to identify but advertising does have its merits.

The key to valuing advertising is not in how much direct business it generates – it won’t usually generate much – it’s in the brand recognition it creates.  Advertising is about getting your target market (the media’s audience) to distinguish your business and understand the value of what you offer them.  That way, when they recognise a need for themselves they are more likely to contact your business over your competitors.

Still, there’s a lot that has to happen between the ad and you getting the business.  That’s why you need to have other marketing tactics working at the same time to make that process much easier.

A Referral Plan

One of those other tactics is a plan to generate referrals for your business.

You can bet that 8 out of 10 customers who are asked how they heard about a business will say “a friend told me” or something like that.  In a place like Canberra we truly do have only two degrees of separation.  The trick in business is to get those working for you.

What Goes in a Referral Plan?

Well, like all good plans you need to start with some goals.

  1. Think about how much you want to grow your business by this method, work out what percentage of referrals will lead to business (the effectiveness of your plan will increase this number) and how many referrals you’ll need to get per month and year to achieve this.
  2. Then do a SWAT to identify what you need to take advantage of, and what you need to fix in order to maximise your likelihood of success.  The results of this become part of your tactics.
  3. Given this, work out what resources (people, money and time) you are prepared to put into achieving the goals and any changes you’ll need to make to have those resources available (eg: training, budget, schedule).

You are now ready to put together your referral plan tactics.

Some Referral Tactics

You know your business best and should be able to come up with some novel ideas to get referrals.  Here are a few tried and tested ideas:

  • Revamp your customer service offering – nothing brings people (and their friends) back like getting the service they desire.
  • Develop a relationship with others who serve that market – there are other businesses out there that want to be able to deliver a value-added service to their customers.  Get to know them and offer special packages for their customers if they refer them.  It’s important though to keep these relationships going to achieve a good stream of referrals.
  • Diversify your service – think of other things related to the services you currently offer that you can offer to your existing customers.  Checkups, end of warranty service, reviews, training etc.
  • Referral cards – give out a card to existing customers to pass on to friends and colleagues.  You might consider offering them a discount or a reward for successful referrals.
  • Reminders - at every opportunity – every communication with your clients, don’t forget to ask them to refer friends or colleagues to your business if they were satisfied.  It usually takes 3 contacts at least to get people to take the action you want.
  • Post service survey – give new customers a survey aimed at improving your service.  Ask if they are likely to refer your business.  You may even consider asking them to provide the name and contact details of someone they’d like to refer.
  • Do a contest – Run a “Why I need and deserve….” contest with your customers and recommend they pass it on to people who might be interested.  Collect contact details of potential customers and follow them up quickly. You can select and publicise the answer which best reflects your key messages.

There are loads of other ways you can generate referrals.  It’s just a matter of doing a plan and thinking a bit laterally about how to achieve your goals.

I’d love to hear about other tactics your business has used to generate referrals.

Jean Mc

Time Management

If time runs away from you, this may me an interesting read!

Welcome to my Blog, it has been a while since posting and let me just say not because I have been on holidays or taking it easy, quite the contrary. This has been a very busy and tiring time with lots of physical activity included. This is a very personal story this time and not a personal opinion but an experience I wanted to share.

Do you feel like time is passing you by? Do you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day, days in a weeks or weeks in a month? well I know how you feel. Busy people tend to fit lot’s into their days, weeks and moths. Have you ever asked yourself why that is, well I have, and recently more than ever. So i thought I would share some personal stuff with you in this blog about how much I have fitted in recently.

Ask yourself these questions and then please read on for my personal story:

  • Do you plan your day before it begins, plan your month before it begins?
  • Do you allow constant disruptions that take your focus away from the priorities?
  • The day before you go on holidays, reflect on how much you get done and how focused you are?
  • What could you do better to create more time in your day or even week?

School holidays are generally a time for me to recharge and put on a different hat. My Youngest daughter being the only child left at home generally goes to visit with her Dad and his family in Darwin. I miss her a lot but I use this time to recharge, work longer hours to catch up and also have some creative thinking time. Unfortunately this has not gone to plan these holidays, let me explain why.

In December I moved my business from one location to another, now if anyone has done an office fit-out before I am sure you can empathise with me and even more so as I am not very smart in the electrical area of an office. So doing an electrical plan was where I was at breaking point. When I say breaking point I mean my boundaries and comfort zone were certainly pushed. I can coordinate many different things and I enjoyed creating a new learning environment for Mantra Training & developments staff and students. Well…….5 weeks later and a few melt downs we are in the office and very happy with the outcome.

I am also very proud to say that my Son has been recovering in a Rehabilitation hospital since the beginning of January and has been doing exceptionally well. Driving to Sydney every week (6 hour round trip) to support him may be tiring, but again I find a way to use this to my advantage and University in the car has been very re energising for business and me personally. For the past 4 weeks I have been watching my Son recover from 8 years of addiction and self destruction. It has been an amazing process and he is working very hard to recover and get life on track. He has been supported by Nurses, Counselors and Support Workers who have helped him in his path to recovery. I am so very proud of him; this has not been an easy journey by any means.

For the past three months I have been training hard for my trip to Kokoda in April and I am getting fitter and stronger every week. As the time draws closer I start to wonder if I have done enough but with 11 weeks to go I am sure I still have time to up the anti and make sure I am fit and ready to take on the trek. I look forward to the history, meeting the people in the villages and the physical challenge. I can’t wait to experience the different cultures and see the scenery of the Kokoda Trek.

So I think when we have to step up we can achieve greatness and fit a lot into a short period of time. Now I don’t think for a minute it is sustainable long term without reflection and rejuvenation, and very achievable in the short term. I think it is soon time for a 4 day long weekend kayaking with my Daughter to slow down and recharge my batteries and brain.

Remember this…… we all have 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year, how we use those hours, days, months and years will provide varying levels of results. if you want to learn some great strategies for time management then contact Mantra Training & Development

Till next time, remember to set your Goals for 2012, Donna

Goal setting with purpose will be the next blog

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