Who’s Responsible for Your Personal Development ?

Let me let you in on a little secret … the answer to the question is “you“.

A 2014 research survey by Bamboo HR published in Inc. magazine states that the number one reason that people leave companies is due to lack of advancement or development opportunities. I’ve no doubt that you will also be familiar with the phrase “People don’t leave companies they leave managers”, a well-worn statement that is often substantiated in HR exit interviews.

These two points are undoubtedly connected and the uncomfortable truth is that unless you work for a great leader who believes in you and consciously invests in your future, you are unlikely to be afforded the development opportunities that you crave. It’s a crying shame but that’s the reality for many of us in today’s workplace.

Now given this situation each of us have a choice to make :-

  1. Accept this unfortunate state of affairs and while frustrated with the situation, it’s outside of your control. Although you know the frustration will chip away at your confidence and reduce your motivation, there’s nothing you can do about it other than complain and moan to anyone that will listen.
  2. Accept the unfortunate state of affairs but as you’re so frustrated by the situation you decide to take things into your own hands and be accountable for your own development. You are buoyed by the fact that you have taken control and are steering your own development, you can overcome the frustration because you know where you are heading.

Again, the harsh reality is that the majority of average salespeople, either consciously or subconsciously, choose option one.

Those of you who are determined that you will be one of the few to make choice number two then read on, there are a number of simple steps that you can take to support your own development and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Here’s three tips for those of you looking to develop yourselves on a budget :-

Develop a Reading List

Pound for pound, a book is the most valuable investment that you can make in yourself. Ensure that you consciously read (don’t speed read taking little in) and apply the teachings into your day-to-day work. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn for a few pounds and a little investment in your time. Here’s my top 5 to get your started :-

  • Drive – Daniel Pink : The secrets to human motivation (and it’s not what you think)
  • How to Lead – Jo Owen : An incredibly valuable resource for people new to Leadership, if you are a new manager get this book.
  • Perform – Keith Hatter, Chris Shambrook and Jim Constable : How to get better at what you do by obsessing over the right things.
  • Winning Teams, Winning Cultures – Larry Senn and Jim Hart : How culture impacts individual, team and operational effectiveness.
  • Switch – Chip & Dan Heath : Simple methods on “How to change things when change is hard”

Get Active on Social Media and Use Evernote

There is a huge amount of material available via Social Media Channels that can help you learn and develop knowledge of just about any subject. Spend some time searching Twitter and LinkedIn for the experts who publish material on subjects you want to learn about, follow lots of them and spend 10 minutes each morning saving articles to Evernote for you to read at a later date. This is so easy to do, simply add the Evernote Web Clipper to your web browser and a single press of the button will save the page/s for you to read at a later date. If you add the Evernote app to your Mobile Device then you can catch-up on reading during your commute each morning or evening (that is if you use the train, please don’t do this if you drive!)

Put your Headphones on. Watch, Listen and Learn

Hearing different perspectives, sharing and learning from others is a great way of developing yourself. YouTube, TED Talks and PodCasts are just three remarkably simple ways of learning from others. Again, spend a little time searching for the people with something valuable to say, follow them and then watch TV – who thought learning could be so easy !

Finally, the most important tip of all, TAKE ACTION … put some time aside every single week and block the slot/s in your diary. It’s too easy to let deadlines and the pressures of beating quota take precedent over developing yourself. But as I said at the beginning of this post, you’re responsible, so stand out from the crowd and make sure that you take control.

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