(Related: How to Make Your Sales Proposal a Winner)
Most everyone has figured out that performance expectations keep going up. To put it bluntly, we face the challenge of doing more in less time. And it’s not about to change anytime soon.
In the past, those with lots of experience fared well. But not today. Experience can hold us back, like running against a strong wind. Experience is about what we’ve done in the past and it has value in a never-changing environment. On the other hand, expertise prepares us for what we must do next so we can face the future with confidence.
The question, then, is how to transition from experience to expertise, from looking backward for answers to looking forward with solutions. Here are 17 ways to do it:
1. Have the right mindset.
Experience short-circuits the thinking process. We go from zero to 60 in a split second. We tear into tasks because we’ve been there before and know what to do. It takes an analytical mindset when entering uncharted territory.
2. Figure out what you need to know.
More often than not, problems, misunderstandings, and confusion occur because we didn’t ask enough questions—or, more likely any questions. We get off on the wrong foot by not knowing what we need to know.
3. Give yourself time.
Some say they do their best work in a crisis or at the last minute. It’s also easy to deceive ourselves. Where does that leave us when we run out of time? The answer: in trouble and making excuses. And feeling overwhelmed.
4. Work on it and let it sit.
The best solutions rarely, if ever, occur on the first attempt, whether it’s writing a report or working on a project. The human mind needs “noodling” time to work in the background without pressure. Remember, everything can be improved.
5. Avoid confrontations.
It isn’t easy, particularly since we seem to possess an “urge to be right,” a gyroscope of the mind. When coming into contact with an opposing view, the mind pushes back to regain its balance. It helps to view it as a signal to take a closer look before having a confrontation.
6. Never assume things will go smoothly.
Why do we never get over being surprised when things go wrong? It’s as if someone is playing cruel jokes on us or deliberately throwing us curve balls to cause us grief. It’s best to be prepared by anticipating what might go wrong.
7. Second-guess yourself.
To avoid getting blindsided, ask yourself “what if” questions to foresee possible outcomes. Then, when asked about alternatives, you can say you considered various options and why you chose this one.
8. Learn something new.
If you can do your job without thinking about it, you’re probably bored and underproductive. The human mind gets moving and stays active by coming up with new ideas, making improvements, and solving problems.
9. Go beyond what’s expected of you.