Fall Self-Assessment:  Skills to Succeed in Business

Fall Self-Assessment: Skills to Succeed in Business

September 23, 2015
Business Skills

Back-to-school time brings a routine back to daily life, and for many is a time for reflection and renewal. Whether you clean closets, organize your financials, or start setting goals for 2017, many individuals find themselves leaning in this direction as the temperatures start to dip.  For retail dietitians, it’s a great time to do some self-reflection, assessing their business savvy and where they might adjust the course for greater success in role.

Consider the four categories below, which are most often considered to be essential for success in business, and where your strengths lie. Then make plans to soar with your strengths while at the same time mitigating any negative impact of those skill sets where you have room for development.

Both in business and in dietetics, oral and written communications are essential skills. Retail RDNs have multiple audiences with whom they communicate, ranging from grade school students to the media to senior executives. Sharpening written communication skills and determining methods to most effectively manage email load can be game changers. While public speaking ranks high amongst the world’s most popular fears, practice is the best way to overcome any anxiety or hesitancies you have in this skill area. In business, the reality is that sometimes it’s more about who you know than what you know making the ability to social network (think work the room at a corporate event) essential for success. Equally important for retail RDs is the ability to sell and negotiate. Whether it’s with shoppers or a merchandising manager or your boss, persuading others to act is an essential business skill.  

A common frustration of retail dietitians is that their work plan for the day, week or month can change on a dime’s notice. To this end, it’s essential to be strategic in planning, having a clear vision of the long-term goal for your program while allowing for high priority, short term projects to occur. Because much of the work retail dietitians do is in partnership or through others, project management skills are essential to achieve goals and get things done on time and on budget. Included in the ability to oversee  projects are skills to manage risk and logistics. Seeing potential potholes in project plans and being able to mitigate them makes projects run more efficiently. Any business or project has inputs and outputs, and having the right people and resources in place ensures the goal is accomplished. One of these inputs and/or outputs is financial, and having a firm grip on numbers and a clear ROI plan in place is a skill worth mastering.

Retail dietitians is still a relatively new and evolving industry, and those individuals with leadership skills (think set the strategic plan, get people to follow you) will thrive in this environment. Before you can lead others, however, you need to work out how to get the best out of yourself, making personal productivity (think what are your rhythms, when are you most creative, least productive, etc.) a powerful skill. Continual reinvention of the wheel suggested something is broken, and effective systems can bring consistency, efficiency, and reduced costs to the work of retail dietitians. Time management reduces stresses and increases respect from others, and meeting management is a fact of business life. Tricks exist that will help retail RDNs stick to the agenda, maintain control, and ensure productive meetings.

Working in an evolving industry requires the ability to problem solve, a skill that also makes individuals more liked and respected by others. The ability to brainstorm great ideas fast puts you one step ahead in this industry, and in fact, some of the most successful business people are the most imaginative. Bringing a new lens (think nutrition) into a long-standing industry (think retail) provides an open window for a whole lot of inventiveness, and if you can imagine it, you can create it. If you can create it, you can sell it.