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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Professional Development Examples

Leading up to this point, we’ve looked at several answers to Why is Professional Development Important? and we’ve worked through several key things we each need to consider as we set our Professional Development Goals. While that should serve as a reasonable foundation that we can build on as we’re intentional about growing professionally, there’s no reason we should feel like we’re alone in the process! Having strong examples to follow can help the process go much more smoothly…

Let’s face it, no two people will follow the exact same journey when it comes to their professional development. We all have different experiences we’re building on and it’s extremely rare for any of us to have the same long term goals - especially when we’ve invested the time and energy necessary to gain the kind of specificity my friend challenged me to get. But regardless of where we’re coming from or where we’re heading,...

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You Can’t Hit What You Can’t See

I recently challenged you to think about Why is Professional Development Important? then we looked at the importance of intention Professional Development Goals in the last post. But we have to be very honest with ourselves when we’re considering either; we need to have a clear picture of what we’re hoping to achieve or any of the effort we put in will only have a limited impact - at best!

About six years ago, I was on a call with a guy who owns one of the largest landscaping and irrigation companies in South Florida and he was sharing some ideas on how to approach professional development in a way that truly delivered the best possible return on investment. That really got my attention. I had recently accepted a position with a different company after nearly two decades with the same one. I had worked extremely hard in every role I held to that point and I had also invested in nearly every type of professional development resource I could afford (I was paying for almost...

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Professional Development Goals

Through the last few messages, we’ve taken a look at some data answering the question Why is Professional Development Important?... I closed last time by emphasizing that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach and promised to work through some things each of us need to consider as we’re moving down our own growth path. But before I cover a few examples, let’s be sure we’ve all got the right thought process. Without that, the rest may not even matter…

More than a century ago, James Allen said that “people are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” Oh my goodness! What if Mr. Allen was around to see the mess we’re dealing with today… 

All too often, folks want to be respected as a leader before they take full responsibility for leading. But that’s not where it stops! How often have you heard someone say that they’d be...

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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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