Strategic Community Management

Close Your Skill, Experience, Or Resource Gaps

Have you noticed something interesting about most filmed interviews by non-professionals (e.g. people that do not work in the media)? The non-professionals looks terrified. They are nervous, wooden, shifty, and look scared of the camera. This undermines the entire interview.

In fact, it undermines the entire tactic… perhaps even a huge percentage of the strategy.

Can you imagine going through all this effort, only for the interview to be ruined by the presenter?

This is a skills gap. The presenter has likely never been on camera before. They do not know the best body language to adopt, where to look, how long to look at the camera, what to do if they become uncomfortable, etc. They might not know that they need to exaggerate their personality to match the setting. This results in a wooden, underwhelming interview.

Along with knowledge gaps and resource gaps, skill gaps are one of the three gaps you need to fill before you execute a tactic. Too often, people overestimate their abilities and believe they can do something they have never done before really well. This is an arrogant (and, unfortunately, common) mistake to make.

You can correct this by identifying your skill gaps and taking action to close them.

What is a Skill?

Skill is your ability to perform a task. Knowledge is your understanding of the task. A simple analogy would be playing the piano. You could spend years studying (acquiring knowledge) to play the piano. But this doesn’t mean you would be able to play the piano. You wouldn’t have developed the instinctive skills to be able to play yet.

Likewise, you could teach a colleague everything you knew about sales. However, this doesn’t mean your colleague would be able to sell a project to a client at her first attempt. She wouldn’t have the skills yet. It’s hard to teach the tone of voice, expressions, understanding what’s not being said, etc. There are too many variables to teach this. Instead, she would need to develop an instinctive understanding.

Knowledge Gaps

Now you do the same thing, but for knowledge. Looking at the tasks above, what knowledge would you need that you don’t possess today?

Knowledge is anything that can be written down or passed along in a single medium to multiple people. The nature of knowledge makes this task difficult. You might not know what you don’t know. However, this too is something you can ask and find out by asking yourself “What don’t I know which I should know?”.

Look at the tasks above again. Are there any in there which probably require knowledge?

You would probably want to know:

  • How much to pay vendors
  • How to hire good vendors and work with vendors
  • How to entice experts to participate in interviews
  • How to set up a paid advertising campaign.

Each of these is information you can acquire relatively quickly. The key step is identifying what information you need to begin with.

This is where you need to have a simple knowledge acquisition plan. You might reach out to a few people who have done this before and find out what we should pay, who is highly recommended, what kind of things we should watch out for.

Likewise, you can find a few relevant online communities (aha!) and ask in there. For the really important tactics, you want to be prepared with all the knowledge we need to make it happen.

Resources

Finally, you need to make sure you have the resources in place to perform these steps well. This is a relatively easier step. It usually comes down to permission, budget, and human resources.

Is your organization okay with you taking the steps you need to take?

Are they willing to pay vendor invoices promptly and help promote your work where necessary? What information do they need from you to pay invoices? What do you need to pay invoices?

Are they willing to give you the human resources you need to make this work here?

It should be relatively simple to scroll through the list of steps outlined here and check. Is there any step that requires anything from your organization which you do not currently have? These will include:

  • Budget set aside and vendors to be paid promptly
  • Internal support for analytics and measuring
  • Embedding the video on the main news page.

List Your Skill, Knowledge, and Resource Gaps

You should now be able to develop a specific list of gaps you need to close.

Task

Gap

Details

Create a list of contacts to interview. Resource Permission to interview any expert I like without any further approvals.
Schedule calls with experts and identify those who have something interesting to say. Knowledge How to entice experts to participate in interviews.
Find and book a film studio for interview. Skill Negotiating with vendors.
Knowledge How much to pay vendors.
How to hire good vendors and work with vendors.
Resource To agree deals and pay vendors promptly.
Arrange travel for the expert. Resource Ability to arrange travel and reimburse expenses.
Book a photographer for imagery. Skill Negotiating with vendors.
Knowledge How much to pay vendors.
How to hire good vendors and work with vendors.
Resource To agree deals and pay vendors promptly.
Hire a designer for slide slides. Skill Negotiating with vendors.
Knowledge How much to pay vendors.
How to hire good vendors and work with vendors.
Resource To agree deals and pay vendors promptly.
Book an editor with availability to edit video. Skill Negotiating with vendors.
Knowledge How much to pay vendors.
How to hire good vendors and work with vendors.
Resource To agree deals and pay vendors promptly.
Select a video hosting platform. Skill Negotiating with vendors.
Knowledge How much to pay vendors.
How to hire good vendors and work with vendors.
Resource To agree deals and pay vendors promptly.
Film the interview. Skill Conducting interviews.
Presenting on camera.
Resource To publish the interview without prior approval internal.
Set up a reward scheme for referrals / sharing the video. Knowledge How to setup a referral scheme.
Resource To agree deals and referrals somehow.
Set up paid advertising to promote the video Knowledge How to set up a paid advertising campaign.
Resource To use a company credit card.

Closing Your Gaps

Once you have identified your skill, knowledge, and resource gaps, you want to help your team close those gaps. This should guide every investment and personal development decision you make. If you have a team member (or you) who will appear on camera, you should ensure they have time to practice being in front of the camera or attending a one-day training course.

screenshot-2016-10-05-14-13-16

Usually, closing the gaps is relatively simple. The hardest part is ensuring staff realize they do have gaps and they need to take the time to close them in advance.

Take the time to do these for each of your main tactics. Identifying the gaps should not take long. Gaps usually arise when you ask someone to do something they have never done before. Once you have identified the gaps, make sure people take action to close them before you try to execute the tactic.

Summary

  1. Identify skill gaps. What haven’t you done before which might be difficult?
  2. Identify knowledge gaps. What don’t you know?
  3. Identify resource gaps. Check if you have resources in place in advance.
  4. Close the gaps identified. Find the right training courses, experts, events, and ask peers (in online communities).
  5. This is only relevant to a minority of tasks. Many tasks don’t require significant skill, knowledge, or resources to complete.

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