Core Competencies Worksheet (B)
Core Competencies Worksheet (B)
These are essays from answering the questions given in Worksheet A. The edited article Make it Work can be found here.
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1. Planning can “make or break” the organization.
From your practical experience, cite an example of a company that demonstrated or failed to demonstrate good human resources planning. Describe the incident. What were the consequences?
A company needs team members that possess necessary skills to accomplish its many tasks. The Human Resource Department sees to that. However, recent reports reveal how more and more people are finding themselves unfit for many of today’s jobs. There’s lack of training and as technology continuously develops, the number of insufficiently trained workers would only increase.
The company then takes the risk of hiring people who may not have the skills but have the will and talent to learn the skills. Such decision could either make or break the company.
On one hand, it can be good. The company could be training the industry’s future movers and shakers. One could never tell a worker’s worth until he’s been trained. Also, an untrained worker doesn’t cost as much as a professional. Lastly, a newly trained worker who feels gratitude towards its trainer is likely to stay in a company for years, lessening the company’s need to hire another employee.
But on the other hand, hiring unskilled workers could mean big loss to a company. In ESL teaching for instance, I’ve personally observed how companies tend to think that anyone can teach English. As the demand for ESL teachers grows, companies go for quantity over quality. Its consequence? Lower level of learning for students—which is the worst thing a school could do.
When a company chooses to take risks, it is neither the worker nor the company who ends up a victim but the customer.
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2. All winded-up and lost.
You are starting to get the feeling that a certain blog building project you are currently doing seems to go nowhere. The tasks continue to pile up without some direction or even a delivery date. What are the implication of a project without goals? What if the scope of the project continues to expand uncontrollably? How do you bring this problem up to the client?
For online workers, getting more tasks from the client is only normal. Clients get so busy running their business and they need all the help they can get. So one task becomes two, newer and immediate tasks come in and the pile goes up.
The organized online worker, however, does not let things go out of control. He perfectly manages by prioritizing the most pressing tasks before proceeding to those that can be set aside. He must never lose focus especially when it’s the client who does so.
Clients—and businessmen in general—are known for being risk-takers. It’s how they achieved the success that they now enjoy. But they can also make mistakes out of challenging themselves to do more. Out of excitement, they could come up with projects and delegate tasks without giving further direction, leaving the online worker wondering if the project would go anywhere at all. A project without a goal does not have any reason to push through.
But be patient. A client may simply be too busy to explain a great idea. At the same time, be honest about what you think of such idea. Become your client’s confidant who will let him know when he’s not doing something right.
Should things go out of hand, don’t be afraid to tell your client about it. Ultimately, it’s the company who will either benefit or suffer from the consequences of you and your client’s actions. As you both share a common goal, it’s imperative that you work harmoniously together.
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3. Conflicts and demands.
A client is now obliging you to log in the wee hours of your morning in order to work with him on his daytime. How do you negotiate this with your client? How do you bring about client demands that you are not willing to do?
Online work is more often than not done for a client who resides and runs a business overseas. So it shouldn’t be a surprise when an online worker is asked to work within the client’s time zone which often means working late at night down to the wee hours of the morning. Clients prefer to be able to communicate with their workers whenever possible. It may even be best to work during the most peaceful hours of the day, with no distractions around.
However, not all online workers have the luxury of time. Family obligations throughout the day prevent working parents from staying up all night. Clients understand this situation, but the online worker will need to prove himself worthy of the privilege by staying professional and accomplishing his tasks during his working hours.
But for some who do not have such a heavy reason, a serious talk with the client might do. When I used to work as a transcriber, I had to ask my boss to allow me to work at an earlier shift because my insomnia was getting worse and I needed the usual resting hours. Clients can be lenient when they recognize good and professional reputation.
In whatever form of conflict, communication is key. Clients and online workers are both professionals who will need to work things out in order to achieve a common goal.
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4. I’m the map, I’m the map!
The client becomes very excited about a certain product campaign that he overwhelms you with information and to-do’s. As a project manager and the only one who works for him, how do you keep yourselves on each others’ toes (meaning, how do you keep yourselves focused and on the right track)?
New ideas and innovations that will help increase productivity, leads and, ultimately, profit sound exciting to clients as they are constantly looking for ways to improve their business. But when this excitement to try something new leads to overwhelming the online worker with information and tasks, the former needs to know where to draw the line.
The internet provides a world of opportunity for a client. With so much information and so many materials available online, a client could easily pick out what he likes or get inspired by it and try what he just got onto his business.
It’s understandable how clients get excited about a single idea. His workers probably share the same feeling towards it knowing it might benefit them all. But in the middle of the excitement, clients can lose sight of what’s more important.
While another task might not hurt for the already busy online worker, especially if he’s got outstanding management skills, even more and just about anyone would stop being as productive as possible. By then it’s time to talk to the client and keep everything on the right track.
Talk to the client about the tasks that you do and explain how adding a new one will affect everything. Let the client decide tasks that need prioritizing. It may be exciting to try something new, but careful planning must be done to make sure that no task will be left unaccounted for.
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5. I’m done…Well?!
Most Filipino VA’s have difficulties in appraising their own work. Most do tasks the way they know how, submit it and pray that the client will like it. What are the ways for you to improve on this mindset? How do you develop the skill to evaluate your own performance? How important it is for you to understand how much worth you can deliver to the client?
At the end of the day, all or most tasks will have been done and submitted. Some workers would rest, move on and get ready for the next workday. Others though, would spend time worrying and hoping that the output for the day meets the client’s need.
While worrying is just a sign of concern and care for a perfectly done task, worrying too much may not be healthy.
It’s no surprise that one of the biggest problems any worker needs to overcome has to do with the self. There’s a lack of self-confidence towards own work. Especially for the newly hired who hasn’t got enough work experience, the self is indeed the harshest critic.
But it need not be. All it takes is some time spent learning and training. Teach yourself. Learn even more than what’s needed for the job and you’ll find yourself an indispensable part of the team.
Keep in mind that you were hired because you got what it takes to do the job. Recognize your contributions to the growth of the company, no matter how small. Lastly, understand that the company needs you as much as you need them. Then, the confidence will start to build up.
Remember, a confident worker is an effective worker.
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