When training budgets are cut, or don’t exist, individuals are often left to their own resources to continue their education or to grow professionally. In this challenging environment, many put their professional growth aside and wait for a different or better time.
When it comes to professional growth and development, waiting is not an acceptable strategy; however a leadership self-development plan is a viable solution.
To enhance your career, you can implement this simple and affordable five step leadership self-development plan. You can also share the concept with others.
Step 1 —You must make a commitment to professional growth and development.
As an example, if you commit 10 percent of your time to your professional growth and development, you will achieve anywhere between 4 and 6 hours per week, or a staggering 26 to 39 eight hour days per year.
This becomes your goal and with any goal you need to work hard at achieving it. It may not seem practical at first and you may not be able to immediately jump into 4 to 6 hours per week. However, you can start by getting rid of the things that are wasting your time then begin to dedicate 30 minutes in your calendar to self-development, then 60 minutes twice per week, then 3 times a week and then before you know it you will be easily achieving your goal.
Like any goal, keep it visible by tracking your progress and you have taken a positive step to achieving professional growth and career advancement.
Step 2 —Determine what specific skills, characteristics, qualities or attributes you need to work on in your plan. We call them opportunities for improvement.
There are a number of ways you can do this. Here are five very realistic approaches to identify opportunities for improvement:
1. Ask your boss what areas they’d like to see you improve.
2. Ask your co-workers for feedback.
3. Ask your mentor for feedback.
4. Complete a formal 360 degree feedback survey.
5. Complete an online self-assessment form.
Step 3 —Determine which methodology or tools are best for you. Everyone learns a little bit different so evaluate the best way for you to learn. Here are seven valuable ways you can learn from:
1. Attend workshops and seminars.
2. Listen to educational CDs (or MP3s).
3. Watch educational DVDs.
4. Find a professional coach to work with.
5. Find and attend free webinars.
6. Find and read books and online blogs.
7. Role play situations.
You can see with the number of learning options available to you there is no way you can fall short of your goal. You also don’t need to spend a ton of money either.
Step 4 —Proper and complete execution of your plan means you will need to prioritize and stay focused and disciplined in achieving your goal and the desired outcomes.
Then go to work on them in the time you’ve allocated in step one utilizing the methodology you’ve identified in step two.
Step 5 —Conduct 90-day reviews to evaluate and adjust your plan