Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Case for Ongoing Personal Development

When we are young, we are a sponge for knowledge. We want to learn anything and everything. As children, we see the “big kids” around us playing ball, and we want to learn how. A sibling is reading a story out loud and it’s a skill we want for ourselves. A little girl goes to a dance recital and immediately wants to start taking ballet lessons.

At some point in time, perhaps when our thirst for knowledge is replaced by a structured learning environment, we lose that overwhelming desire for knowledge of any kind and find it replaced by much more discerning desires. We no longer want to know everything. In fact, many of us try and wall ourselves off from knowledge that, while useful, we see no need for. At this point in time, you are probably thinking about your teenagers. For many, High School represents a time of survival rather than real learning. We believe that we know everything and just focus on getting through each day. The point of High School appears to be about learning to take tests to prepare us for that next level - college.

For most of us college is again a time for learning. The style of teaching changes, as does our style of learning. We control our schedule of classes to an extent we never considered possible before and we find ourselves drawn to certain subjects that may appear to be the path for a future career. College is also a time for great personal growth as we learn about living life on our own, managing our personal finances, etc. College may or may not be followed by an advanced degree, depending upon our needs and desires. With our college diploma or MBA firmly in our hands we step into the business world, assured of instant success.

Or are we?

For the second time in our life, we believe that we know everything. Oh sure, it may take us a few months to get used to our new environment, but that’s just temporary. Before long we have been promoted, advanced into the world of management and conquered the business world!

Unfortunately, there is so much that we have not yet learned about business, or more importantly, about people. What college can never prepare us for is the complexity of human beings, the challenges of dealing with co-workers, and how to deal with the politics of the workplace. Working through the complex business scenarios presented to us in our class work is a breeze compared to dealing with the egos, political agendas, and hidden alliances in the office.

It’s a little bit like learning the theory of how to fly an airplane and then sitting in the cockpit and actually trying to do it. We know how things are supposed to work. But how they work in real life is often very different than we learned in our text books. On the one hand, it’s the same stuff. On the other hand, being at the controls brings in whole new levels of complications that you could only imagine while studying the theories of flight.

How does this tie back into personal development?

While we are young and adapting to our jobs, we find these human issues all around us and we learn to deal with them. But as we rise through the ranks, the issues become more complex, more subtle, and more challenging. What worked well for us as an individual contributor, does not work well when we achieve the level of Manager. What worked well for us as a Manager is not nearly as effective when we achieve the level of Sr. Manager. And the techniques we mastered at these levels are woefully inadequate for the challenges of being a Director, a Vice President, or a C-level executive. We must continue to grow our skills, specifically our people skills, as we progress through the ranks. Those who do adapt and grow find that success follows them. Those who fail to change, fail to learn, and fail to grow find that they quickly top out.

What are you doing to ensure your ongoing personal development?

And equally as important, what are you doing to ensure the ongoing personal development of your key team members? Without their continued growth, your own career may well be short-circuited.

At ECI Learning Systems LLC, we are dedicated to helping companies get the greatest return from their most valuable asset: their employees. We work with you to align 3 key organizational factors:
• Your Company Culture
• The Leadership Styles of your key managers
• The Expectations of your Employees

When these 3 factors are aligned, you create an energy in your company that improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, increases creativity, and positively impacts your bottom line. Contact ECI Learning Systems LLC today to get your free Workplace Evaluation.

Until next time.....

Dave Meyer
ECI Learning Systems, LLC

No comments:

Post a Comment