Why is Professional Development Important?

So you have a title that carries some authority, not to mention more than a fair amount of responsibility; what do you need to do now?

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen someone land themselves a position with a fancy title, be it fresh out of school or after several years with their company, and dig their heels in so they can enjoy the ride. All too often though, they immediately abandon exactly what got them there; the professional development process…

A quick internet search landed me on a page titled Sobering Statistics About Readers Today, stating that “33% of high school graduates never read another book the rest of their lives and 42% of college grads never read another book after college.” By the time I was 23 years old, I was well on my way to being one of those statistics! Interestingly enough, I only remember reading one book from cover to cover all through high school - The Hobbit - and I really think that was because it...

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Soft Skills that Make a Hard Impact

I closed the last post by bringing up one of the biggest challenges I’ve seen organization’s struggle with in determining whether or not they make an investment into the new skills someone will need as they transition into a role with leadership responsibility. When we’re intentional about accurately defining leadership development, we can begin to identify specific areas that need to be addressed in our growing team members. This is also where we should be establishing baseline measurements for a few key metrics that tie directly back to effective leadership - in the lack thereof…

Over the last twenty years, the most common push-back I’ve seen to making an investment in providing the necessary training and development that can be so critical in helping new supervisors and managers lead their teams effectively has been the concern of not knowing if it makes any difference at all. In so many cases, those soft skills are viewed as intangible and...

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The Secret to Consistently Moving Forward

In James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh he shares, “People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” 

When this quote comes to mind, entire periods of my life do as well because these are times I (Cindy) chose to remain bound.  In my defense, I had not yet learned about personal growth but I certainly knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I also knew I was choosing to maintain in life rather than get far enough out of my comfort zone to create the change needed.  

Suddenly, a life event threw me out of my comfort zone - like overnight. Not long after, I learned about personal growth and everything started changing for the better. Before I learned about personal growth and started applying growth principles to my life, I was filled with ambition without guidance and worse yet, without the willingness to get out of my comfort zone where all my dreams and goals were!  This...

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It Won’t Just Magically Happen!

We started defining leadership development in the last post by looking at the importance of truly serving our team members rather than barking commands. While that’s quite the noble concept, it’s far from natural for almost anyone moving into their first position with leadership responsibility. I’ve rarely seen someone promoted because of how effective they’ve proven to be in serving the people around them. Unfortunately, that kind of servant leadership prior to being in a position of authority is often overlooked completely or taken for granted. Have you ever heard anyone say “nice guys finish last”?

In almost every scenario I’ve seen where someone earned a promotion to a position where they now had responsibility for leading a team of people, it was based primarily on a strong ethic and excellent technical skills - both of which are extremely valuable in any field! But having those two important traits doesn’t necessarily translate...

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Can We Afford Not To…?

I closed the last post by mentioning how many organizations view “soft skills” training as something that’s nice to do when there’s time but far less critical to the day to day operation of the business than any technical training tying directly back to their specific industry. But is that the right decision?

In chapter 16 of Leadership Gold, People Quit People, Not Companies, John Maxwell says “Some sources estimate that as many as 65% of people leaving companies do so because of their managers… The ‘company’ doesn’t do anything negative to them, people do.” In many cases, these are the same managers that have risen through the ranks of that company as they’ve developed strong technical skills and became some of the organization’s top producers. But as we discussed in the last post with regards to just how that can impact communication, being great at doing doesn’t always translate to being effective in...

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I Don’t Have Time for This!

Be honest, how many times have you muttered “I don’t have time for this!” under your breath, or even said it directly to someone on your team as you were showing them how to perform a task one more time? To be completely transparent with you, I’m not even going to try to count the times I’ve said. For that matter, I don’t think I can count high even to reach the number of times I’ve been responsible for someone else saying it…

And in most of the cases where we’ve each felt that way, how often would it have been easier to have that person we’re training step aside and watch while we get the job done ourselves? If you’ve read more than a few of these posts, you know that’s one of those rhetorical questions! It’s almost always easier to have the team member step aside, or in some cases gently nudge them aside, so we can get the task knocked out and get back to what we were involved in. If they’d only...

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Why is Leadership Development Important?

Picture this.. Joe is offered an entry level position with a company as he begins his career. In the months that follow, he works as hard as he possibly can to develop the skills necessary to excel in his new role. Joe is extremely dependable and is outperforming most of his peers by the end of his first year in the organization. 

About 18 months in, Joe’s supervisor accepts a position with another company. Based on everything he’s done to hone his technical skills and learn the ins and outs of the process, Joe is offered the supervisor spot! 

Mary graduated at the top of her class with an expertise that resulted in several employers making her outstanding offers right away. She chose the one that was the best fit for her and she’s been one of their top performers for more than a decade. While she’s an absolute master of her craft and gets genuine fulfillment from everything involved, there have been times where she’s considered taking that...

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The Hard Truth About Tough Decisions

“Wanting everyone to be happy and making tough decisions were incompatible tasks.”

 - John Maxwell

I (Cindy) remember reading this quote early in my leadership journey and realizing there’s my problem!  I was attempting to keep people happy while making tough decisions... and it wasn’t working out so well. Family, work, friends...everywhere!  I wanted everyone to be happy yet life offered an unending barrage of tough decisions.  Since I made tough decisions with this mindset, I was in constant turmoil.   That simple quote reminded me everyone is responsible for their own happiness and my job was to continue making tough decisions with everyone's best interest at heart.  That worked for me because it values everyone!  

Consider when a mindset shift may be helpful for you in this area. It may just make the difference for you and your leadership like it did for me! If it wasn't for ongoing growth, I would still be...

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Don’t Make Jack a Dull Boy...

Through the last several posts, we’ve been working through the importance of enjoying each step of the journey rather than resting on the hope that fulfillment will come once we reach that ever so important goal we’re chasing. I even used the last post to share an example of just how badly I’ve failed at doing just that…

In an attempt to be as corny as I can possibly be, I believe the saying may actually be true: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

As I prepared to put this final post together and wrap up this Don’t Wait Until You Get There idea, I found myself thinking about what John Maxwell teaches about the Three R’s in the Law of Priorities: What are we required to do?; What gives us the best return on the time we invest?; and What provides us with the most reward?

Nearly every time I reference these questions, it’s around making the most effective use of our time as leaders. But truth be told, that can often be done with...

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A Firm Grip on an Empty Sack...

I had worked hard, doing all I could to hone the skills I needed to become truly effective in the role I held. I had really studied some of the most effective trainers, both within and outside of the behavior-based safety world, so I could excel in something that was incredibly difficult for me just a few years earlier. As I shared in the last post, it wasn’t long after I had really immersed myself in this process that I found myself traveling to facilities across North America to train other teams on the process itself and the successes we were beginning to have at my home facility. 

High school educated (kinda) and in my mid 20s, regularly meeting with plant managers and their executive teams, corporate leadership, and other high falutin folks, giving them my advice on what their next steps should be to get results with their struggling behavior-based safety initiatives… I don’t remember being tagged in my senior yearbook as being “most likely”...

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