Sunday, August 23, 2009


As someone in a Training and Development role, I've been involved in lots of discussions lately about career development and what we need to do to grow our bench strength across the organization. Obviously all organizations and jobs are different but a couple of rules for everyone on developing yourself:

1. You have to own it. If you aren't happy in a current role or see a development opportunity, only YOU can do something about it.

2. Create a Career Development Plan. Even if it is one you do personally and not directly through your organization. Where do you want to be in 5 years? What skills do you need to develop to get there? What actions could you take to get that skill? Think outside the box - it doesn't have to just be attending a training class. Could you help out in another department, read a book on a topic, volunteer at a charitable organization or on a cross-functional group, etc.

3. Be realistic. Keep your development goals to 2-3 core ones and then focus on the actions for each.

4. Recognize that across is just as good as up. Careers don't progress up a ladder like they used to. I once heard it referred to as a "lattice" where the goal is to be well-rounded. Cross-org (or lateral)- and sometimes even downward - moves can be really beneficial in the long rune. Anywhere that moves you outside your comfort zone and helps you learn new areas of the business, a new competency, etc. is going to be a big development opportunity.

It sounds so basic but development is one of those things people tend to forget about in their day to day work life. If you could spend even 10 minutes a day related to developing your professional self, it goes a long way!

Books related to this topic (that I have actually read):
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler


Maverick said...

Super helpful - Your blog was the perfect place for me to peruse today - good advice as usual!

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