Maintaining Technical Excellence

Today is Wednesday, so this post is on outstanding performance.

All outstanding performers are technically excellent.  You have a technical discipline.  In most cases you studied this discipline when you were in college.  Or, you might have grown into your technical discipline as a result of your work experience.  You might be an engineer; or an accountant; or an HR professional; or a scientist; or a marketer.  Outstanding performance begins with your field of expertise. 

Technical excellence requires a life long commitment.  The half life of knowledge these days is getting shorter and shorter.  That’s why outstanding performers continue to learn and grow in their technical discipline.

Professional associations are one way to continue your learning and growth.  Early in my career, I was very involved with the American Society for Training and Development – the preeminent professional organization for training and organization development professionals.  I was active in local chapters.  I attended the monthly meetings and volunteered for committees.  I devoured the ASTD journal every month.  I submitted articles to it.  I vividly remember my first national ASTD conference.  It was in Atlanta in 1977.  I went over the program several times in the weeks leading up to the conference.  I knew exactly the sessions in which I was going to participate way before I got on the plane.  When I got there, I was in awe.  It was an amazing experience for me to be in the company of so many people who shared my career interests. 

Every field of expertise has its professional organization.  Most have more than one.  In my case, I also was a member of the OD Network – an organization devoted exclusively to enhancing the skills of Organization Development practitioners.  Today, I am active in the National Speakers Association.

I bring up professional organizations here because I believe they are one of the best ways to stay on top of what’s happening in your area of technical expertise.  There are others ways too – advanced degrees, intensive workshops, one day trainings etc.  The important thing is to keep learning and growing – and keeping your technical expertise up to date.

15 years ago, when I taught presentation skills, I included a section on how to prepare and use attractive flip charts and overhead transparencies.  Today, I teach people how to use PowerPoint to its fullest.  This is but one simple example of how one of the skills I teach, presentations, has changed in a relatively short period of time. 

If you think about it, I’m sure technology has had a big impact on how you do your work too.  That’s why it’s important to stay on top of things – to make sure that you maintain a high standard of technical excellence.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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