Jed Cohen

An Archive

Competencies and Feedback

leave a comment

We all have things we’re good at.  And, well, we all have things we’re not so good at.  And one of the things that I think I (and probably you) struggle with is talking about these competencies.  After all, we don’t want to sound like we’re perfect, but we also don’t want to sound like we’re completely flawed.  It’s a fine line to walk.

Which is why having a common language to discuss core competencies can be a good thing.  Using the same languages allows individuals to better communicate the nebulous ideas that make up “what we’re good at” to other people.  And really, we have to do this all of the time.  If you have a corporate-type job, chances are you have to have a yearly performance review.  If you’re interviewing, then you’re probably answering that question about what your weaknesses are quite frequently (and no, working too hard does not count).  If you’re a company, then you have to communicate your strengths to your potential clients.  And so on.

Now around this time of the year, I’d normally be heading back to school.  Instead, I’ve graduated and entered the “real world.”  I don’t think I’m that different a person than I was three or six months ago; I like to think that I’ve worked to improve myself, picked up one or two new skills, and have overall made a positive change.  But it’s hard to tell without feedback.

In science, feedback occurs when the results of a system loop back into itself and lead to some kind of effect upon the system.  In the case of our actions though, feedback rarely comes from within.  Instead, we filter through social signals, body language, and conversations, looking for data that we can use as feedback, and then react appropriately.  When you think about it, this often doesn’t work too well; people aren’t always the best at saying what they mean to communicate.  It also makes it difficult to provide yourself with feedback (or at least I find it so).  After all, the biological definition of feedback takes place in a closed system; our interactions with others take place in the public domain.  So it’s a little bit harder.

Why am I writing about core competencies and feedback?  I wish I had a single reason to share with you.  I don’t.  It’s a mess of self-reflection, changing events, interactions with others, and more.  Ultimately, I’m left with two questions:

What am I good at?

What am I known for?

I have some thoughts on this.  I’m not ready to share them, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be.  But in the meantime, I’m working on developing the framework necessary to communicate the answers to others.

And I’m always looking for (constructive) feedback.  So if you have some, please, share.  It’s a gift, and one I’d greatly appreciate.

Written by Jed

September 24th, 2009 at 12:37 am

Posted in me

Tagged with ,