Professional Development: Are You Learning Every Day?

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    Professional DevelopmentAre you learning new shots or skills every single day?

    Jack Nichlaus was asked if there are really talented golfers who never make it. “Oh, hundreds of them”, he replied. “A lot of people out there are more talented than I am and yet, through the years, I’ve passed them by. That’s because I never was satisfied with my game. I was learning new shots every single day.”

    It’s up to you to make sure you are continually improving, growing, and learning every day. It’s up to you to make sure you never go out of style! It’s up to you to take charge of your professional development. Here’s how.

    1. Have a learning perspective.

    Be on the lookout for teachable moments. Approach each learning experience, whether you want to be there or not, with the questions: What can I learn? What one or two things can I take away that I can use immediately? Who else would find value in this learning?

    2. Benchmark your skills periodically.

    Do it at least once a year. For those in a fast moving profession or industry every three months may be required. In other words, what’s in your work portfolio? Is it filled with skills or competencies that are up-to-date and sought after? Or, is it filled with skills which are obsolete and not very portable?

    3. Create a learning plan.

    Pinpoint specific skills and knowledge that you need to acquire or up-grade. Then identify the professional development activities that are available to you. They can include mentor relationships, special assignments at work, in-house and public seminars, professional conferences, on-line courses, university education, books, journals, blogs, etc.

    Are you learning every day?

    I hope so. If not, you may find yourself a professional dinosaur…out of touch, out of skills and out of work. Just as a company invests in its own research and development, you need to invest in your own career growth and development. Remember, as you never outgrow your need for milk, you never outgrow your need for professional development.

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?