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Consistently Confident, or Chronically Concerned?

~ If officers are unaccustomed to rigorous [training] they will be worried and hesitant in battle; if generals are not thoroughly trained they will inwardly quail when they face the enemy ~ Sun Tzu

PWC conducts regular global surveys on CEO confidence. According to the 60-second video I have just watched, PWC’s Chairman Dennis Nally said that 37% of the 1,322 CEOs surveyed are confident that the global economy will get better in the next 12 months, down from 44% last year. However, at the same time, 39% said that they were very confident that their own companies would grow over the same time frame. You can click on the image below to see the report yourself. There is also a downloadable report on the site.

CEO Survey PWC 2015

This post is not to discuss the PWC survey but to ask what our confidence, in general, is based on. The quote from Sun Tzu above is as true today as it was two-and-a-half millennia ago. Observable confidence is a manifestation of self esteem. Self esteem increases with self efficacy, although it is not wholly dependent upon self-efficacy. Self efficacy means getting better at stuff. When you get very good at what you are supposed to be doing, you find that you start having lots of free time on your hands. With that free time, you can choose to get bored, make a nuisance of yourself around the workplace, go for upgrading courses, or plan your next vocational move. I said vocational, not career. Look up what they mean. Oh, and don’t make that absolutely self-defeating mistake of thinking that you don’t want to be seen as having increased capacity and competence or your Boss will come along and dump more work on you without the commensurate increase in salary. That’s because as you increase in self efficacy, you increase in value. If your Boss doesn’t appreciate that, help him to see it by negotiating reasonably or else take a hike. Hint: take the negotiating step very seriously first, and hike only if it really fails. You want win-win-win as much as you can, and you need to work for win-win-win, not just see who can shout more loudly.

Have you become very good at what you do? Have you remembered to let your Boss and your co-workers know? If they don’t or haven’t noticed, maybe it’s time you started asking yourself whether you’re as good as you think you are! If you find that the answer is “No”, start getting better! Confidence is automatic when you become very good at what you do and you use your competencies to help those around you become better as well. Simple? Of course. Are you doing it every day? You know that answer!

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CEOs, what is your confidence based on? If you say it’s based on the excellent team you have, please go fire yourself. Getting a great team, comprising people who have skills, competencies, and other things that are better than yours is expected of you. The one core competency you must have as CEO is the ability to make yourself redundant. By that I mean that you can take off for a three-month long trip to huddle with Emperor penguins in Antarctica and when you return, not only have you not been missed, but the expected triple bottom line has actually been breached! Not because you have been absent for so long, but because you have already laid the foundations, prepared the fields, given clear directions and trained & developed the right people. Spiders are redundant, too. Their webs do all the work. Sure, some repairs are always in order, especially after a typhoon, but you get the drift. Are you a good spider? Are you competent enough to have many threads in your hands and not get entangled? Oh, and while you’re chewing on this, do remember that your huddling with Emperor penguins was supposed to have given you some great insights that will continue to steer your company to highly profitable destinations. If that doesn’t continually happen, you haven’t made yourself redundant, you’re merely a liability.

What can you do to become consistently confident? If you don’t act now, you will remain chronically concerned!

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