Self Development for 2010 – Part I

December 16, 2009 by Bill Bradley


Title: Competency Development — Part I

Competency: self-development

Who benefits: employees at all levels, those seeking to enter or reenter the workforce

Consultant Usage: reference material

What’s it about? I started to put together an end-of-the-year list of the top ten best business books of all time (as determined by me 🙂 ).  Somehow the project didn’t feel right, so I stepped back and asked myself a couple of questions: Why are you doing this?  What are you trying to accomplish?  Right there is some good advice for those moments when you find yourself working on something and feel “stuck.”

The answers to my questions went something like this: I write this posting each week in support of an organization that does research and sells products related to workplace competencies.  Now I know a fair number of professionals who just love to come up with fancy definitions for “workplace competencies”.  I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy.  I like it simple.  So for the purpose of this and my next two postings on this Blog, let’s just say that a workplace competency is something you need to be good at to be successful in your job.

Note that I did not say “in your career”.  Competencies, at least as used here, are related to the job you are in now.  A different job may call for some different competencies.  That is especially true if you jump from worker bee to queen bee.

So, you say, what competencies do I need to be good at?  I can say with no hesitation “I don’t have a clue.”  That is for you, your boss and your organization to decide.  But what I can do is give you a list of competencies that are common to many jobs.  If you see one that fits, ask yourself “Do I need development in this area?”  If yes, consider the resource listed for that competency.

What follows over the next three weeks is a  semi-random list of competencies that allows me to suggest my all time favorite resources (mostly books) for that competency.  So here goes:

Visionary Leadership – Such vast territory, where to begin? Well, I would like to begin at the beginning.  No one had more to say and said it with more vision than the #1 all time business guru Peter Drucker.  If you want all of him in one book try The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management.  Or you can narrow your focus slightly with The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done.

Leadership/Influence – Consider either On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis (the 4th edition of this classic was released this year) or John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do by John Kotter.  (Boy it is awkward when a guy puts his own name in the title of his book!)

Financial Leadership Thanks to my friend Andy I can recommend without reservation a business leader…ah, but which book?  If you are strictly interested in the financial aspect of this competency read The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Second Edition.  If you are more inclined to read an entertaining biography while absorbing many of the financial principles, consider the new and very positively reviewed The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.

Now I am a little mischievous and like to have a little fun once in a while, so I am inserting this paragraph to find out if Andy really does read my blog every week like he says he does.  So Andy, if you are reading this, use the comment section and tell us which is your favorite Buffet book (Warren, not Jimmy)!

Goal Setting – This was an easy choice.  I laugh, but it is true.  Never has a simpler book been written on a complex topic.  The whole book could be…and has been … summarized effectively in one sentence.  Still the best book on this topic: The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard.

Decision Making/Judgment – I am less concerned with the mental process of making the decision than I am with the ability to select the best decision (doing the right thing as Drucker would say) and thus I recommend Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls by Noel Tichy (with an assist from Warren Bennis).

I have at least a dozen more competencies with recommendations to share with you over the coming weeks.  Hope they are helpful. 

Catch you later

[tags]competency, competencies, leadership, visionary leadership, goal setting, decision making, judgment, financial leadership, drucker, kotter, bennis, blanchard, warren buffet,tichy, bill bradley, william bradley, bradley[/tags]

Bill Bradley (mostly) retired after 35 years in organizational consulting, training and management development. During those years he worked internally with seven organizations and trained and consulted externally with more than 90 large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools.

Posted in Leadership Development

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  1. The Snowball is a great read for most people. Will be interesting and you will learn if you are receptive to the lessons that it offers.

    The essays are an excellent read for the financially-inclined. A lot of them are taken from the shareholder letters I believe.

    The entire archive of his shareholder letters is for the true die-hards though. Start from 1977. You’ll learn more about common sense finance required to build, run and invest in profitable businesses than from any other source of information I’ve seen. As a bonus you’ll be somewhat of an expert in insurance too.

    Thought you could get me!


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