business career entrepreneur success

Adopting Smart Professional Development Practices

A major step tin keeping yourself growing in your career is to adopt smart professional development practices that will improve your talent.

Understand your learning and development needs

Ongoing learning practices can go a long way to improving our performance from time to time we all need to conduct a strategic stop to assess of our talent base is where it needs to be and if it’s not we need to figure out what we need to be doing and what we are going to do about it as soon as possible.

Once again let’s draw upon the collective wisdom of high-performance leaders, to see what they do to develop professionally.  It’s really important that you take the time to conduct a needs assessment to determine your level of proficiency on the skills that are most important for your success in your current position.

Identify knowledge deficit

There’s a good chance when you’ve had your most recent formal performance appraisal that your boss identified an area or two that could use some work. So stop right now and name one skill that you think you need to develop to become more effective in your job and maybe less stressed out.

Is it a technical skill tied to your job, or is it your ability to plan effectively or build the team our culture people or lead an organizational improvement effort? So what’s the skill you like to improve upon? Then, ask yourself is there anything stopping you from developing world-class talent around the skill that you see as your greatest deficiency?

Set a specific learning objective

Once a deficiency has been identified it’s imperative to set a specific learning objective for that particular skill and the more specific the better. You want to clearly state the learning goal to create focus and attach a timeframe to it in order to create action.

You may say I want to learn how to delegate work to employees more effectively and efficiently in the next 60 days or I want to improve my tactical planning skills in the next 30 days or you might be really bold and say in the next year I want to become the leading authority in my organization on “fill in the blank”.

Attach a timeframe to the goal

You need to come to the realization that there was very little that is stopping you from developing world-class talent around any skill that you deem critical for your success.

Once you set clear learning objectives it’s important to create an improvement plan to help you develop the skills that you need to be more successful. High-performance professionals craft development plans that are specific to the skills they’re trying to perfect and they have lots of tools to draw upon.

Seek out training and educational programs

In developing your plan you might want to seek out formal training and educational programs around the particular skill that needs work. In these days there is a huge variety of formal training and educational programs that we can put to use.

Start by familiarizing yourself with the organizational training and development programs that your own company offers. In many cases formal learning opportunities are right under our noses and we don’t even know it.

Or you might be able to find a seminar or workshop offered by a consulting group or university or community college right in your own backyard, and the neat part is we have lots of online and digital options available to us.

Make sure to do your homework on the course or program to make sure that it’s worth the time, the effort and the money spent and that’s directly tied to the skill you’re trying to develop.

Increase your ability to retain and apply information

After completing a formal education program like this make sure that you do the things that increase your ability to retain and apply this important information.  Information without application will not create transformation or provide you with the return on your investment.

Include some specific actions from the training that you can make part of your stop process that are directly tied to getting better results or when you returned to work provide the members of your team with a summary of what was learned and how some of these ideas might be applied.

Experience-based learning

When you formulate your talent improvement plan remember that there’s a great deal to be gained by using experience-based learning as well.

Within your organization things like cross-training or learning skills that those around you use in their jobs, or taking on special assignments to serve on an improvement team or task force and special on-the-job training programs are just a few of the things that you might consider looking at for on-the-job learning opportunities.

In addition organization sponsored community service and outreach projects and volunteering in your community can be an amazing development opportunity for people who are interested in accelerating their personal growth and development.

Create accountability and use feedback

It is really important that you create accountability around and here’s were having a great working relationship with your boss. Having an accountability partner or having a personal Board of Directors can come in handy yet again.

For your development plan to work there must be specific action, ongoing feedback and reinforcement and accountability for action or the hustle and bustle of our daily work routines will squeeze out these important learning opportunities.