In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey builds a compelling case that we can all become skilled at building trust by cultivating 13 behaviors that focus on character and competence. Covey coins one of the 13 behaviors as “Get Better.” What he means is that we can and should continually improve at what we do to build on our competence and increase others’ confidence in our abilities.

Over the last six months I have been doing just that. Like many of my talent development colleagues during the pandemic, I’ve been challenged to move in-person courses to online. I’ve been pushing the boundaries of Zoom to create learner-centered curriculum that engages participants. And I even moved outside of my higher ed “comfort zone” and piloted a leadership program for Christian pastors and missionaries.

In the process, I was stretched as I learned the ins and outs of new instructional technology. I read a half dozen new books to understand the leadership challenges inherent in Christian ministry and trained on a new assessment on behavioral styles and motivators. Most important, I learned from the leaders themselves. With the wonders of technology, 15 pastors and missionaries from Washington, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and India met for 12 biweekly sessions over the course of six months. It was exciting to learn about each of their ministries and how they are serving others in their regions and around the globe. It was also humbling to observe their sacrificial service and the Christ-centered unconditional love they demonstrated towards others. Their love for people was evident in class discussions, teachouts, and in their mission talks and it enriched the program.

Last week, we wrapped up the program and celebrated each participant’s completion. While I’m thankful for a bit of a break, I’ll also miss this amazing group of leaders. I am grateful for the opportunity it gave me to “get better” and stretch my facilitation and instructional design skills outside of higher education. As I’m debriefing the program evaluation feedback with the sponsor and looking toward what’s next, I know that I’ll be capturing more of what the pilot program could use to make it better and in the process, I’ll be getting better too.

What can you do to build on your competence and “get better?”

Anita Rios

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