How much breakthrough skill do you really have?

Have you ever wondered whether your efforts at self-development are really paying off? Do you sometimes feel like you are just treading water in getting better at your job? How we really get better at something is a critical issue of time, money and effectiveness.

[shareable]How we really get better at something is a critical issue of time, money and effectiveness.[/shareable]

For years now I have been a student of how we truly progress in skill… in anything.

In particular, I’ve looked at these skill sets:

  • communications skills,
  • the skill of leading people through big changes, and
  • the skill of working on my own personal organization in the face of sometimes seemingly overwhelming busyness.

One professional accreditation body that I have worked with is the Association for Project Management(APM), the UK’s IPMA professional body. The APM has put a good deal of work into recognizing skill in the field of project management. News broke last week that the APM is finally progressing towards Chartered Status. This means that if you gained APM’s Registered Project Professional (RPP) qualification, as a few of my clients have through my company, pearcemayfield, then you soon may be able to call yourself a Chartered Project Manager.

[shareable]APM is finally moving towards Chartered Status.[/shareable]

I like the way APM have designed and graduated their qualifications. Much of this is built on their Competence Framework. However, there are a number of practical challenges in using the whole Competence Framework as it stands. With our clients, we tailor this Framework quite heavily. But there is another reason why we look for a simpler, more general pattern of development.

When I was attending one of their approved training organization events, a member of APM’s L&D team told me that the Dreyfus Skill Acquisition Model has shaped much of this strategy. I’ve adapted the Dreyfus model’s five levels with these names:

  1. Novice
  2. Advanced Beginner
  3. Proficient
  4. Expert
  5. Master

The progression looks like this:

A Skill Acquisition Model

In my latest book, Leading YourselfI show how these five levels play out in the area of personal mastery, in how someone organizes their private world and overcomes apparently overwhelming demands on their time and energy. I show that standard training solutions are most effective towards the start of this sequence. Many get stuck in the middle for multiple reasons, not least because the learning solutions offered are irrelevant. Click here for a paper on skill acquisition and growing in self-leadership.

[shareable]We must move beyond tick-box assessments for professionals.[/shareable]

I commend the APM. I believe they have got this broadly right. We must move beyond mere tick-box assessment to prove our skill progression, in project management as in other areas such as being able to influence and lead stakeholders through effective change, and in our personal ability to manage ourselves.

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