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In class last night, a student commented that she felt bad when she was completing her diagnostic questions. These questions challenged her thinking about her competency and her behavior. She said that she, “felt convicted about her actions.” When I told her that this was good, she looked at me like I was from Mars.
Of course, it was not good that she was getting poor results, but it was good that she was getting honest feedback. If she is honest, and she is willing to do something with that information, she has that which she needs to improve.
People require honesty to grow. Without honesty, our best efforts will fall short.  This is true personally and within organizations.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is known for its12-step program. The fourth step requires participants to make, “a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”[i] It is only in the deep, soul-searching examination that they fully come to grips with their issues.
So it is with you. You can only improve when you fully know yourself. That means knowing your strengths and acknowledging your weaknesses.  If you are a small businessman, you are probably good at a few of the essential business skills, but you are probably also poor at others. This is common, but most people do not like to think about their deficiencies.
The challenge is to know yourself well enough to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Below is a list of major business competencies. The list is not exhaustive, but it should be a good starting point. Be honest and evaluate yourself:
 
Essential Business skills[ii]

Very Weak   Weak   Average StrongVery Strong
Accounting12345
Financial management12345
Marketing12345
Sales12345
Customer service12345
Communication12345
Negotiation12345
Leadership12345
Management12345
Planning12345
Delegation12345
Time management12345
Problem solving12345
Networking12345
Other12345

How to Use the Survey:

  1. Review the list and rate your strengths and weaknesses (1 is very weak; 5 is very strong).
  2. Circle the categories of competence that are mission-critical to your success. Not all areas will be critical to your success. It will vary depending on the nature of your job.
  3. Identify the two or three weakest areas that you have circled as mission critical. Place an asterisk(*) next to these. These are the areas in which you either need to grow or staff with experts who can provide sound advice.

What About You?
Now you know where you need to focus. What will you do from here?
References
[1] The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. (n.d.). Alcoholics Anonymous. Retrieved from http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/About-AA/The-12-Steps-of-AA
[1] Essential business skills (n.d.). Small Business Development Corporation of Western Australia. Retrieved from https://www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/business-advice/starting-your-business/business-skills