Sunday, September 11, 2011

Competent - Don't I wish ? - Mondays Wrinkled Brows

Wrinkled Brows is a Monday series on a word or quote of interest (perhaps only to me.)

Competent: having requisite or adequate ability or qualities; legally qualified or adequate; having the capacity to function in a particular way.

Most of us have a few personal pet peeves and one of mine happens to be incompetence, especially in areas where it really matters.  I'll just own it; incompetence makes me cranky.

As a young girl, even just ironing dresser scarves, my mom expected that they would be done correctly.  "If it's worth doing at all, then it is worth doing right."

Let's face it, when one is less than fully adequate in "flopping whoppers", or perhaps greeting customers just so at the local wally-world store, the ripple effects are likely to be little more than mild irritation.  No big deal.

But when competence is inadequate in areas where health, safety or even financial dealings are at stake, I have a fairly low-threshold of tolerance.  This past week has been a stiff challenge in remaining professional and polite while dealing with people who lacked "the capacity to function in a particular way."

Necessary paperwork authorizing critical medical treatment gone awry, missing, or in one case delivered to the wrong patient, for the wrong diagnosis with the wrong treatment.  People!  What happened to professionalism?

Deadlines were ignored or missed.  Arrangements which had been double-checked for confirmation due to necessary, and very specific logistics, had not been communicated to the right person despite assurance that they would be.

I made a living for a lot of years in a tough corporate environment where you either delivered on your promises and met your deadlines, or you were invited to seek your future elsewhere.

Say what you'll do and then do what you say.  Walk your talk.  Plan your work and then work your plan.  However it was phrased, you darned well better come through or there were serious consequences to be faced.

Apparently that type of commitment to keeping one's word is no longer in vogue.  It is a lackadaisical society in which we live.  More's the pity.

I don't know about the rest of you, but this week's miserable demonstrations of incompetence have caused me to determine to do even more going forward to:
-     communicate clearly wants, needs, and expectations
-     follow through on exactly what I say I will do
-     remember to thank those who services I value and respect.

I no longer get paid to behave this way; but I still believe it is worth the effort.  Someone, somewhere is depending upon each of us to be competent.  I say let's come through for them.

Hope you are enjoying the waning summer days and remembering to thank those who demonstrate competency.  It apparently isn't all that common anymore.  (And I am not just being cranky.  At least I hope not.  :) Until next time .... Marsha


  1. Interesting that you should mention that. We (my husband and I) were just talking about that today and discussing a family member who has matured into such a good work ethic that we were aazed. We thought it might not happen due to immaturity etc. and all of a sudden, it evolved. Sometimes one is pleasantly aurprised by these things.

  2. Donna - Here's to pleasant surprises ! :)

  3. Hey Marsha, this is a good post. I too came from the corporate world and when the ball was in my court, there were a lot of people looking right at me.
    It's not too much to ask for people who work in healthcare, and handle your money (as well as other fields) to be competent.

  4. I'm like you. I heard, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right," over and over. It's ingrained into me and it's hard for me to have a lot of patience sometimes with folks who don't ascribe to that. Good post!

  5. Thanks for a wonderful post. I came from the academic world and then the corporate world. Competence was too often lacking in both those worlds. Perhaps I'm just being old and crotchety, but all to often it seems that no one takes pride in their work.

  6. Hey, times have changed. My wife and I actually EXPECT incompetence in our dealings with just about everything. Another change---no more manners. People are just plain rude, and for what? It costs nothing to smile or say "hello" or "thank you".

  7. I will post some fall color pics in early October
    I am competent(HA) the colors will be here. My blog features web cams and weather info every day. I take weather very serious and have done so all my life. I was once designated the weather man on my navy ship back during Viet Nam. I was the only crew member of 400 men that was competent to take on this task. robert-7000ft