01/28/2013 08:06 pm ET Updated Mar 30, 2013

To Succeed, You Need the Ability, Skills and Behavior

I recently read that to do any job, you'll need the physical ability, the right skills including the knowledge and experience and the right behavior. To succeed, those ingredients can't be emphasized enough when it comes to your portfolio of relationships as well. Consistent with the counsel to continue to make time for introspection in the New Year, let me ask you:

  • Do you have the right abilities?
  • Are you consistently gaining the appropriate skills?
  • Will you effectively apply the most relevant behaviors to identify, prioritize and strategically invest in your most valuable asset -- your portfolio of relationships?

If you answered no to any of the above or are even unsure, here are three personal and professional growth challenges to make habitual this week for the rest of the year:

1. An hour a day to read, write and explore! How will you remain relevant, topical or create a perspective if you don't soak in a variety of independent insights? When you make time to read consistently, it becomes your intellectual food -- you'll never know when you'll use it, but it'll come in handy. When you write, ideally for public consumption, but even if its for your own edification, you begin to internalize and crystallize a point of view. When you explore, you ignite your inner wonder and expand your portfolio of experiences, all of which you can learn from and grow through.

2. Make a short but poignant list of your performance requirements. Where are you today and what knowledge or experience do you need to acquire or develop to become more well-rounded in how you build and nurture productive relationships? Who can you model for their thought or practice leadership that you like, respect and trust? What do they do particularly well that inspires you or lights a fire within you to raise the bar on how you engage and influence others? Keep in mind that similar to brands, relationships are promises kept and delivered and in any market that's full of noise, the best way to elevate yourself above that noise is to create an insistence on the brand called you!

3. Identify relationship-building behavior role models and create specific behavioral objectives for yourself. You can't improve anything you don't highlight, measure, analyze and apply course correction to, so what behaviors do you admire as particularly effective as demonstrated by those you respect or trust and how can you practice the same? Several executives I know are very calm and collected in their demeanor even under the most stressful situations, others have a prejudice toward action while others yet are world-class orators and can craft incredibly compelling messages. Behavioral objectives are far too few in our growth barometers for ourselves and only when we become specific about what we will chose to do differently, will we grow and create the results we seek.

Today, relationships matter more than ever. Make this the year you became more intentional in the relationships you chose to invest in!