It is just human nature to be competitive, to strive for self-improvement, and reach the pinnacle of a successful career. The question is how to achieve all of that with a work load that is, at a minimum, jam-packed with meetings and looming deadlines. Weeks, months and years go by before we look up and realize that we thought we would be two steps ahead, and worse, the world has changed around us. There are new channels that require new communication styles and the marketplace has changed along with the requirements to reach career goals. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing a good job, it simply means that it’s time to take a self competency check and take action to get where you want to be - going from good to great.
Skills and capabilities are at the core of competency. As we practice the communications profession, we are honing our writing and planning skills daily, but over the last decade there have been many changes in the roles we play and the activities that we undertake including a catalyst for business strategy, change management, dialogue facilitation, leadership coaching, collaboration of networks and internal communities. These elements of competency can be learned through experience, but there are exceptional external training and certification programs that are available to accelerate your expertise and will often be supported financially by your companies desire to have a subject matter expert at driving communications.
Social media has been a dominating force in the communications world over the last few years, but internal communicators are often not faced with the responsibility of this activity and have often put off developing competencies in this area. As the workforce has become more adept at social media, it has become a viable communications channel to elevate internal corporate messaging. Many organizations have integrated private social media tools as a way to connect employees and best practices; leveraging these tools will require communicators to quickly become a specialist.
Job descriptions have not been immune to the shift in competency focus. Not only are corporations requiring advanced degrees at lower levels, but are looking for strategic experience that goes light years beyond communications planning. Companies desire internal communications experts that can wear the proverbial of many hats with style and ease. They need experts that can quickly step in and strategically align and drive the needs of the organization. In this challenging economy, communication professionals must also network. By joining organizations like IABC, competency awareness is more obvious and in your face. They have a pulse to the driving needs of the marketplace and provide opportunities to meet with professionals and swap war stories. In addition, organizations also offer timely trainings. IABC offers multiple competency growth opportunities including seminars, webinars and timely research and articles to provide an edge to today’s trends and a view into what tomorrow will bring.
The bottom line to career development is competency awareness. Everyone is going to have a "wake up and smell the coffee" moment. The question is when that happens, what will be the biggest chasm to cross to go from good to great?