Working for Change: Making a Career in International Public Service

By Derick W. Brinkerhoff; Jennifer M. Brinkerhoff | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 6
Skills and Skill Building

You have your vision, and you know you need to work with others in community. What skills and knowledge should you acquire and how?1 Skills and knowledge relate to the tools and process facets of development management. They encompass both technical knowledge and skills—specific to a particular sector such as health, education, the environment, or governance—as well as process knowledge, such as how to work with others (emotional intelligence), participatory processes, and process consultation. As with all steps along the service-choice spiral, acquiring skills and knowledge is not a one-time event, but a lifelong process. And it relates to all of the other components of the servicechoice spiral.

As we discussed in Chapter 4, in considering the skills and knowledge necessary to your service vision, you have to begin with understanding where you are now. What preferences, skills, and knowledge do you currently have? From there you can begin to identify the gaps and determine a course of action for acquiring those skills and knowledge necessary to effectively pursue your service vision. For some of you, this may rest primarily on your preferences for where you think you want to go with your career. Others of you may be mid career and may be contemplating a career transition. Some of your current knowledge and skills will be transferable, so you'll need to explore how and what other knowledge and skills you will need.

Looking at these gaps between what you know now and what you need to know is a continuous process. In the short run, applying your existing knowledge and skills is likely to feel good because you know it's something you do well. But in the longer run, will you be satisfied? And will you continue to be effective? Most of us aspire to continuously learn and grow. So, even if you're satisfied with applying your current knowledge and skill set for now, you may discover that 1) it's not suffi

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