What is a skill? It is something we pick up from doing work. Something that we can specialize in. Examples are typing really fast. Or coming up with a kickass, interactive, alluring presentation in the form of a Marketing Plan or Business Case. It is a result in itself.
What is a competency? It is our ability to do something, something we are good at. Examples are being good at handling people, or being good at synergy (like a baws) and integrating things into a solid idea. It is not necessarily a result in itself, but it leads to quality results.
We are born with competencies; or sometimes we learn them along the way. Our skills, however, are things we may have to exert effort on, but some come naturally to us too, if they are in line with our competencies.
I have a good friend whose competency, I believe, is to talk to people and sell an idea to them. In his younger years, he lacked the skills to be able to strategize and reach a bigger market. So he worked on these skills and took on a marketing job–he learned to make marketing programs, plans, efforts.
Eventually, he learned he wanted to do bigger things, so he learned a new skill still related to marketing. He soaked up everything digital–blogging, advertising, interactivity, community building–and is now one of the leading minds for Digital Marketing Strategy in the Philippines. And he has been selling this very effectively to so many people.
How about you? What competencies do you have? What skills do you have? More importantly, where do you want to be in 5 years, and how can you learn the skills you need?
We should all take the time to think about these things every so often, say every quarter or every 6 months, to see how else we can improve ourselves. A final example. A rock star’s competency is owning the stage. A skill is backflipping and singing while jumping around. The competency makes him a natural. The skill makes him rock.
What is all this for? This can greatly help you if you feel stuck at a job. List down your competencies. List down your skills. On another sheet of paper, write what you want to do. Import the skills and competencies that you think will be needed for what you want to do. Map them (as in, Mindmap). List down other skills that you do not have that might be needed for what you want to do.
Now you know what to work on to get unstuck. Make yourself rock.