There’s a young man in our neighborhood who can sing and play the guitar pretty well. I first heard him about a year or so ago and was quietly impressed. He’s good, but he’s not great. To become great he needs to invest time listening to great performers, studying exactly how they do what they do, only then can he broaden his horizons and begin to build a style he can truly call his own.

The problem is that he seems content with where he’s at. People listen to him for a while, they clap and offer words of encouragement but in my eyes he is nowhere near the level he needs to be if he wants to be considered as a true professional.

The sad thing is I can say exactly the same for many people in business too. Somehow they get away with low skills and only knowing the basics, contenting themselves with sub average performances without any real need to develop their skills any further.  If they were hairdressers you probably wouldn’t let them cut your hair.

I don’t know exactly why it is but too many organizations seem to accept that once someone can bring in a deal, or make a simple spreadsheet in Excel that their skills are done.  Just witness the quality of the average presentation given within companies; even when they are of a consistently low standard no one seems to do anything about it.  Now I am the first to acknowledge that most people couldn’t ever present like Steve Jobs did but with coaching, possibly with a good drama coach, their presentation standards could be dramatically improved.  But when did you last see a drama coach in a commercial company, or charitable institution running workshops on how to give compelling presentations?

To become truly great you need to be made of very special stuff but there is a whole world between OK and good and good and great. And on some occasions I would even settle for OK when I am being forced to sit through a badly prepared and poorly given presentation!

So I want to ask a question:  If we were to spend as much time focusing on improving people skills as we do trying to improve our processes, how much difference would it make to productivity and job satisfaction?

Have a great week 🙂