Is the Juice Really Worth the Squeeze?

Once we’ve accepted the reality that ongoing professional development is actually critical to being successful in each new challenge we take on as well as maintaining success in even our current role, and we create clarity around what we need our professional development process to look like, we need to make sure we’re taking advantage of the resources that will serve us best as we chase our goals.

Following strong examples is a great start, and finding the right people to mentor us along the way plays a key role too, but we’ll still need to make sure we’re taking advantage of every other resource we can get our hands on if we truly want to separate ourselves from the pack! So how can we determine which resources will give us the most value? How can we make sure the juice really is worth the squeeze?

The sky's the limit for what we can accomplish, but the one restriction we all have in common is the number of hours we have access to in our day. And...

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Who Keeps You In Line?

That’s an interesting question, huh… Who keeps you in line? If you know me well, you know at least one person who’s done that for me over the last twenty-plus years has been my darling bride! And that’s often been more than a full time job for her… But thankfully, she hasn’t had to do it all on her own the entire time.

In the last post, I shared how important I believe it is for each of us to identify the people around us who can serve as living, breathing professional development examples that we can study to make our own journey smoother and more effective. And while that certainly provides us with a solid starting point as we move into each new role throughout our career progression, simply observing and asking a question here and there won’t likely always be enough to help us really separate ourselves from the masses. That’s where the value of strong mentorship comes into play; more specifically, having access to people who are...

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Not Just Busy; Effective!

Are you busy? That’s a stupid question, huh! We all are… If you’re anything like me, there are times where you feel like there’s just not another second in your day to squeeze in one more thing.

But are you getting the results you’re after? Are you productive?

Let’s be honest with ourselves here, being busy and being effective are two very different things!

Whose face comes to mind when you really consider this? I immediately think of a few different folks I know who constantly seem to be putting out fires but never reach any of the goals they’re working toward. They’re incredibly busy, but it would be a pretty big stretch to describe them as productive…

In complete transparency, I’ve fallen into that scenario myself far more than I care to admit. My DRIVEN approach to nearly everything tends to result in me taking on just about any task that falls within reach and going at it full speed ahead until it’s done or I...

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What Approach Works Best for YOU?

The vast majority of the work Cindy and I do is focused around developing effective leaders and building effective communication into the cultures of the organizations we work with. But when we’re digging into Why Professional Development is Important, understand that there are so many more things to consider! Don’t get me wrong, I still believe effective communication and leadership are crucial, I’m just saying that there are more things we need to consider than the one-size-fits-all baseball caps I referenced in closing the last post

Several years ago, while working with some of the most experienced team members some friends of mine had working in their company, one gentleman commented, “We’ve done it this way for 30 years. This is the best way it can possibly be done!” Having been involved in so many continuous improvement initiatives over the years, my initial reaction was to jump on the table and preach about all the risks that come...

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Some Very Tangible Intangibles!

OK, let’s pretend the nearly 275% increase in profit that we just looked at doesn’t make a strong enough case for being intentional about focusing on ongoing professional development… I mean those particular numbers were only based on the study referenced by the Association for Training and Development, showing the impact on revenue per employee and overall profitability. But other areas of a business can ongoing professional development impact?

Over the last two decades, I've taken part in the orientation process with more new employees at the various companies I’ve worked with than I can count. It’s pretty exciting when hiring happens because the company is growing, but it’s far less of a thrill when the push is to fill the spots of people who leave the company voluntarily. And more often than not, this is a significant cost that’s not tracked all that effectively - with regards to the direct costs of recruiting or the total indirect...

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Speaking of Benjamin Franklin...

I closed the last post with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,” and I promised to circle back with a look at how we can each expect to get a solid return on what we invest, personally and in our organizations. Interestingly enough, that same idea was the topic of conversation for me and Cindy earlier today as we filtered through a massive amount of junk mail and looked at the two pieces that actually had a bit of relevance; our quarterly IRA statements…

As we each made career changes over the last several years, we’ve rolled what we had in our respective 401(k) plans into IRAs; partly to avoid the crazy tax hit we’d take with an early withdrawal and partly to maintain some potential to recognize some level of ongoing interest. While our risk tolerance for our investments are nearly as different as our behavioral styles, the historic return on our plans have been nearly identical. Cindy’s,...

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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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Clarifying Expectations

Over the last several weeks in this series, as well as through a few separate lessons in our Leading At The Next Level program, I’ve heavily stressed the importance of EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS and how doing that consistently puts us in a very small percentage of society. In the LinkedIn article I published recently, I shared something that Cindy and I discussed with a great group of leaders during our quarterly Executive Leadership Elite Think Tank session as we worked through ways business owners and executives could earn genuine buy-in to their organization’s mission and vision. I won’t hash all of that out here, but you’re welcome to check it out for yourself if you like…

Here’s the thing, taking the necessary steps to truly exceed expectations, whether that’s with the customers & clients we serve, the team we’re a part of or the organization that pays us, or the team and family members we’ve committed to lead...

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Maybe Not Slow, But Definitely Steady!

First off, let me apologize for the last post. I had no intention of pushing anyone to break any New Year’s resolutions so early on by sharing how little will power I have when it comes to greasy pizza. Judging by a few of the replies I received, I may have been a bit too graphic…

As I closed that post though, I referenced the old fable so many of us have heard about the tortoise and the hare. The hare gets a blazing start, runs way ahead of the tortoise, then decides there’s time for a nap since the tortoise is so far behind. The tortoise keeps moving, ever so slowly, and eventually passes the sleeping hare to win the race. It's a cute story for sure, but it’s not so cute when it matches our own behavior!

I’ll emphasize here again, I’m not knocking the importance of setting goals and working to press forward toward them. But if we give it all we have out of the gate, and the changes we’re attempting to make (like cutting out every bit of...

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Another (Red) Face (and puffed out chest) in the Crowd

As I post this, Cindy and I just finished our second gym workout of the new year. We went at an odd time earlier in the week so the crowd of Resolutioners that we had anticipated wasn’t there. That said, there were certainly more people milling around that we would have seen at that same time on a day in November or December… But at 6:30a on the first Wednesday morning in January, there were more than a few new faces. And many of those new faces will be red since it was likely just their second or third time inside a gym in who knows how long… Make no mistake though, that didn't keep many of them from having a puffed out chest after they showed us all how awesome their bench press was!

By early February though, the herd will have thinned a bit. And by March 1, we’ll be back to business as usual…

Don’t get me wrong, I get really excited when I see anyone take a proactive approach to managing their health. I also know all too well how easy it can...

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