Manufacturing Excellence – Inspire, Lead and Succeed with COMPETENCE!


“Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at being incompetent.”


~ Laurence J. Peter
Even though this quote seems to be quite funny at first, there certainly seems to be some sad truth to it. Isn’t it true that we always think that we could do a better job than the person who is in charge at the moment? Reality is that we won’t find out before we walk in this person’s shoes and that it is way easier to complain about other’s incompetence than to work on our own competence.
Please let me share my unconventional insights on competence.
Competence is obviously a requirement for individuals to properly perform a specific job.  There is no question that this is very important but what makes a person competent? Unfortunately many companies have a hiring process in place that focuses mainly on education, knowledge and the skills as outlined in a person’s resume. Why are companies not more interested in knowing what the candidate’s hobbies, community activities and interests are? For example, a person who is a member at Toastmasters would immediately demonstrate his or her willingness to improve their leadership, communication and presentation skills. A person who runs marathons does not have to talk about dedication and commitment because without it, it would not be possible to keep up with the training schedule. A person who volunteers on a regular basis in his or her personal time shows the commitment to help others. Even though behavioural interviews are helpful in the search for the right candidate, it is very difficult to foresee a person’s competence on the job. It really depends on the interviewer’s ability to ask the right questions. It is my firm belief that education does not equal competence. I have met many well educated people who, despite university degree and job title, have not managed to perform on their job to the best of their abilities. 
The question is “why”?
One reason may be that we are all legends in our own minds and most of us like to believe that we are competent. The danger is that our ego may get in the way of being objective and then it can stand in the way of our future success. 
Can it be true that there is a significant difference between book smart and street smart when it comes to our level of competence? How can we apply to our job the things that we have learned along the way?
In a leadership role competence does not only include education, skill and knowledge, it also includes behaviour, attitude, mindset and the ability to positively influence others. A person who is continuously willing to work on his or her level of competence will not only earn the respect of co-workers and employees, it will also enormously benefit their whole life.
I always say, “If you want to be competent, you have to have the courage to learn from your incompetence.”
Have you ever looked at that from this angle? So, what are some of the things you do to improve your level of competence in your job to inspire, lead and succeed?

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