[Guest Blog] Start building your Technical and Business Acumen

Published May 03 2019 10:50 AM 2,601 Views


Acumen is the ability to make good judgements and take quick decisions. These translate into intelligence, intuition and the ability to understand...


For as long as I can remember technical acumen was the main focus AND companies insisted on 'paper proof' of these skills. Which meant that if you weren't certified in something, you pretty much didn't have much value. 


Which is why, for years I felt I didn’t belong in the Tech / Geek community, because I wasn't technical enough / certified. I've never setup servers or installed SharePoint. I know just enough about AD (Active Directory) to keep me out of trouble and for years I thought Kerberos was a three-headed black dog that guarded the entrance to the underworld.


Once you've stopped laughing about "Kerberos", I want you to focus on the words I used to tell you the story:


"I felt I didn’t belong"…..


I'll admit. A LOT of that was in my head. Me putting myself down. Don't be disillusioned, there's a couple of interesting people out there, who won't miss an opportunity to tell you you're not good enough, but by couple, I mean two or very few at least. They're not a decent reflection of the greater community, so don't get stuck on what they think.


The great Dr. Seuss said:  "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."


They don't matter. #ThatIsAll


This blog is dedicated to everyone out there, struggling with the usual suspects like imposter syndrome, negative thinking, self-doubt, procrastination etc. So strange that we were brought up thinking it is a sign of weakness to show or speak of these things, which just made them worse.

I'd love to share 5 ideas with you on how you can build not only your technical acumen, but also the skills you need for business and feeling better as a human in general. And remember, I'm not writing this as an expert (you'll see my thoughts on this below).


Action > Inspiration > Motivation

Start by doing. If you sit around waiting for that light-bulb moment or motivation, it won't happen. Start with something small, then do the next thing, then the next.  A great example of this was that I started writing a blog every day about Office | Microsoft 365. I didn't wait until I was an expert, I shared my learnings as I went on. I didn't wait until I finished writing a whole book and then only published it. I wrote every day, published it, and wrote again the next day. I did this for two years and it changed my life. Want to know more on why I wrote 730 articles in 2 years, here's the article.  


Action leads to inspirationAction leads to inspiration


Having what you say, instead of saying what you have

Sounds a bit confusing right? Read that again. I'm a great believer in positive thinking and yes, positive speech. Here's an example:  "I'll never finish this" will most probably lead to you not finishing it as you've already convinced yourself. This is just a way of saying what we have, or confirming the current state. Example 2:  "I'll be so happy when this is completed tomorrow." This confirms that you believe you'll do it, which puts you in a better mood and yes, you'll probably finish it because you've convinced your brain. This is having what we say. Also remember that you choose what you do when things don't go your way. "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it".


Choose to be happyChoose to be happy


Don't wait for someone to do it for you

The way we learn and stay up to date has changed forever. Don't wait for someone to tell you to go or pay for your training. The internet is filled with free content to help you learn and be great. With technology changing so fast, you need to learn to stay up to date 'daily'. 


Twitter is my place for learning tech stuff and the easiest way to get started is to follow all the Microsoft Product Group accounts. From there you'll pick up on the next level accounts to follow. I have a habit where I spend 15 minutes catching up and taking notes in the morning, before I open Outlook and Teams. Here's a chat I had with Karuana Gatimu on Coffee in the Cloud on building your technical acumen and don't forget to check out the Service Adoption Specialist Course released by Microsoft recently to help you with adoption and change management in projects. 


I also keep my eye on the following:


You are in charge of your destinyYou are in charge of your destiny

Digital Literacy is more important than you realize

Don't only focus on the technical stuff. It's important to build your other skills too.  For soft skills, Mindtools is a great site to learn management, leadership and personal effectiveness skills. I've written extensively about Digital Literacy which includes creativity, curation of content, communication, collaboration and more. These skills go hand in hand with your 'functional' skills in Microsoft | Office 365. Microsoft also has a Digital Literacy course which helps over the basics AND I'm super impressed with Microsoft's Education Competencies for Teachers and School Leaders. There's an impressive list of competencies to get you started.


"The Education Competencies represent many of the attributes, behaviors, areas of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for successful job performance. Each Education Competency includes a definition, four levels of proficiency, sample interview questions, activities and resources to develop skills, and examples of overdoing the competency."


Digital Literacy and Soft Skills is a winnerDigital Literacy and Soft Skills is a winner


Community has been my everything. You are not alone and at any given time, there is someone, somewhere in the world willing to help or give advice. Tech Community is a great starting point and of course the product groups on Twitter and Facebook. Remember to give as well, you have lots of experience and advice to share even if you don’t think so.


"You don't have to know everything, you just have to know everyone who does." quote by me


Community is King!Community is King!

Recently I, together with Alistair Pugin organized and participated in our local SharePoint Saturday Johannesburg and Cape Town. Between these two events we got on a bus and continued to share the Microsoft love down the coast in small communities. East London and Port Elizabeth was our two mini events and this trip just confirmed my believes on community. There's this beautiful African word "Ubuntu", which translates "I am who I am because of who we all are." Don't ever forget the role you play in the bigger picture. Together we turn lonesome into awesome.


Thank you to everyone in my life who has helped me become the person I am today. You rock!



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