Friday, 24 July 2009

The 6th C - Competence

The 6C's of Success - Competence

© Se├ín Weafer 2008 all rights reserved

The 6th (and final) C in the model is Competence.

In the blogs to-date we have reviewed Context or environment, Clarity (or focus), Control (the specific actions that need to be addressed to make change), Confidence (which comes from Clarity and a sense of Control) and Communication (how we reach out to others to accomplish our objectives). Put all of the above together and we come up with top-level Competence or performance.

In challenging times everything must contribute to performance. First thing we do as business owners is reduce our costs, our organisation, our people - the initial impulse when times like these hit tends to be to cut, cut and cut. Of course it is appropriate to be rigorous in our approach to cost and financial outlay, cash flow is everything - however, too much cutting can negatively impact on performance.

The firing of colleagues, the removal of incentives and bonuses, reducing expense allowances and so forth can have a detrimental effect on the morale of the remaining people in the firm. Focus is affected, concerns and anxieties start to drain energy from people and fear causes performance to fall.

Just as in the market, trust can become a tenuous thing in the firm - and can only be re-built on a one-to-one basis. As business owners, in order to re-build that trust and the willingness of staff to engage and up their performance we can use the 6 C model in reverse.

If someone is not performing or their performance has dropped significantly, the first thing we can address is how well they are communicating with us.

Have they been keeping us clearly informed of the work that they have been doing, what have they been doing well and what has been working, have they kept us up-to-date on challenges with clients and colleagues or on their own professional concerns? A lack of Communication between owner and staff (the 5th C) can lead to misunderstandings, anxiety and concerns that negatively impact on performance.  By creating the opportunity for two-way communication we can quickly identify the challenges and what we need to do to address them at an individual level.

So if they have not been communicating why not? Do they not feel sufficiently Confident (the 4th C) to do so, are they clear about what they want to say, can they feel that they can approach us and discuss their concerns?

How well are they communicating with the market, are they clear on the message that we as a firm want to give our clients? Have they stopped communicating with clients or have they come to believe that nobody is doing business and as a result, no longer communicate with clients and so clients are no longer doing business with us (a self-fulfilling prophecy and a factor on performance).

So if they are not communicating, is their confidence affected? How confident are they with the future direction of the market or the firm? Are they edgy or nervous and if so are they projecting that to clients? Poor communication directly impacts on their confidence and the quality of the message they project to customers. If customers find that they are dealing with less than confident and convincing people - then they make look elsewhere for their suppliers. Recently, the Chinese premier said that in today's market ‘confidence is more valuable than gold' - this is why.

So what builds confidence - this is the 3rd C - Control. A loss of sense of control directly impacts on confidence and in a market that is in constant flux, a sense of control is the first thing to disappear. Control is the understanding that we have power over the steps or actions that make change. A sense of powerlessness automatically leads to a lack of confidence.

Where does this sense of control come from? Here we return to the 2nd C - Clarity.

A clear set of goals and outcomes is critical in challenging times. Once we understand the What (what we need to focus on to make change) and the Why (what motivates us to commit to making that change) then all the other C's tend to flow.

We help people gain clarity by making time to allow them to reflect and consider the 1st C - the Context or the environment in which we are operating and defining the things that can make the most amount of change for us.

All of the 6C process comes from the willingness and ability of sales managers to create periods of active reflection for staff. A time to collaboratively reflect on the environment in which they work and together, to create goals and action steps for them to follow.

If you would like more information on how to apply this model to building a powerful sales organisation contact us at

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