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Flip the Script on Uncertainty: Take Control!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
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One of the most difficult circumstances for an individual is uncertainty. Over the past few years, I’ve had several customers working for companies being divested, merged, or acquiring another. It’s stressful, it’s confusing, it’s frustrating, and most people in this environment, at all levels of the organization, feel helpless. What most people do is nothing. They wait. They watch.

Rather than being bootstrapped by organizational uncertainty, there is a different message that we as talent and learning professionals are in a unique position to convey that can flip the script.

In uncertain times, the best thing to do is take control. What can we control? Our own personal development. What you want to promote is that they have the opportunity, right here and now, to develop their skills, whether that is in their current role or to prepare them for their next role (wherever that may be).

Even if classroom opportunities are unavailable, there are usually many other resources including online learning; learning assets such as tools, templates, and job aids; and collaborative learning by working with mentors and managers.

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Here’s the message and plan you can share:

1. Inventory your skills for your current role or the role you want next. If you have access to a competency assessment, do it. Know your strengths and any skill gaps.
2. Build a manageable plan to grow your strengths (be a mentor) and close any gaps. One activity each month. Just one. Document it and put it on your calendar, so you can hold yourself accountable and use it, should you need it, as part of your interviews.
3. Work your plan by completing each activity and adding/scheduling one more for next month.

Not only does this plan best prepare you for whatever may come, it puts control back in your hands.

Eric Hoffer says, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists,” a beautiful testament to lifelong learning.

About the Author

Cheryl Lasse is SkillDirector’s managing partner. Her goal is helping people and companies achieve their potential. Cheryl has extensive experience with competency model development and implementation, and enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion with others. Check out the LinkedIn group Competency Models For Professional Development.

She believes people are intrinsically motivated to excel, if they are given access to a competency model for their role, the opportunity to assess themselves against that model, and personalized learning to help them close gaps and meet aspirational goals. This philosophy has been embodied in the Self-Directed Learning Engine, the engine behind the ATD Skill Tracker.

Cheryl has a strong background in consulting, marketing, and sales, mostly in technology companies, where training has played a chief role throughout her career. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Syracuse University in computer science and HR, and an MBA from the University of South Florida.

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