The right professional development plan will help you achieve and maintain success
If you’ve been in the business world even a short period, I’m sure you’ve heard and read a lot about the value of personal and professional development. Without it, we become stagnant. At best, we don’t advance. At worst, we lose our jobs. Workers must constantly remain on top of their industries, the technologies used, and even customer service and sales skills.
Whole courses and books are devoted to teaching professional development. I came across a nice synopsis in “1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work,” by Bob Nelson (Workman, 1999). Bob devotes a section to some very powerful ideas. He got them from Larry Holman, founder and chairman of Wyncom, Inc. Some of these suggestions are new; some are old. But I’m sure you can benefit from many if not all.
1. Increase your vocabulary by learning at least one new word daily.
2. Attend professional-development programs.
3. Turn your car into a “rolling university” by listening to motivational and educational tapes on your way to and from work. [Of course, we now listen to digital files. -TRF]
4. Make lists of ideas for personal growth. Review them regularly to check your progress.
5. Take behavioral assessment tests to determine your strengths and weaknesses.
6. Join professional or trade associations and become an active member.
7. Contribute volunteer time to community or charitable organizations. Get to know the people you’re working with and helping.
8. Pick a successful role model at work and ask him or her to be your mentor.
9. Encourage–and participate in–team learning in the workplace.
10. Stay in touch with your spiritual side.
What professional development strategies do you use? Are they like the above, or do you have some new ones? Feel free to share them below.
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