What have you done for me lately?
In a conversation the other day a friend of mine mentioned the challenge some of us feel in taking our own professional development seriously.
This has got to change.
It's ironic to me that so many of the people I interact with – which may be because I send out a vibe that attracts these types in my life – are very focused on personal development but give little to no thought about professional work. We tackle relationships (with ourselves and others), romance, seeking the truth and so on without a blink of the eye.
But understanding compensation theory? Examining motivation models? Not so much.
So here's a news flash in case you've stopped taking the paper – no one is going to drive your professional development like you. So it's time to get busy: here's your plan.
- Get a framework – In the HR arena we are fortunate to have several models to choose from. HRCI, SHRM, CIPD, IPMA and ATD all have a content and/or competency model to work from. The first thing we need to do is pick one (or two) to get a better understanding of our craft. We start by putting some boundaries around our profession: what does it mean to be a talent professional in the 21st century?
- Assess your position – Naturally then a self-assessment is in order. One of the beauties in the new competency model from SHRM (all of the models have value folks) is that it not only deploys an eight-part model but after competing the on-line engagement query your report tells you how advanced you are, by level, against the model. Et voila, you now know what to do.
- Develop a learning plan – Anyone in ATD will tell you we learn by doing. So while a few books, a couple of TED talks and the odd seminar are helpful you've actually got to do things to learn! Cant find those opportunities at work? Get involved in your local HR/Talent organizations – they have plenty of opportunity to for you. Budgeting, planning, communication, execution, control – these are all part of working with your local chapters. And don't forget volunteering in schools, business groups and your neighborhood association. Work today is all about collaboration – these venues teach collaboration.
- Initiate continuous improvement – The journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. Take your first step and then another and work against your over-arching professional development plan knowing that progress is not normally linear but a series of rises and falls, up and down. But start. Make adjustments to your schedule, your methods, even your targets, but always work against the high level plan of “deepening my understanding of training” or, “assessing HRIS” or, “examine leadership”. Start the cycle of learning and watch how the virtuous circle continues to improve your professional capacity.
No one else is going to develop you personally or professionally, and yet, this on-going process of investing in your career – indeed, investing in you – is exactly what will enhance that career. So you need to do this.
Get a map, determine where you want to go, mark where you are today and put your plan in place.
You can do this.
And you need to.