Personal development is key in today’s workplace. If you fail to acquire new knowledge, learn new skills or develop your behaviour to become more productive you will find that within a short period of time people will overtake you and gain promotions and salary increases whilst you stand still. Even worse when you fail in your personal develop and your company gets into difficulties you can find that after consultation you might be selected for redundancy .
Let me tell you about two people who both selected different personal development routes. First is the story of Jonathan*
Jonathan is a senior manager who went through the ranks at his company. He started working 15 years ago after as a team leader after completing a Diploma in Management Studies (DMS) He very quickly made promotion to become a manager and soon after senior manager. Jonathan showed all the attitudes required to become a senior Leader within the company. Three years ago Jonathan started to apply for director rolls but had failed a few times. Some knowledge was missing but foremost directors at his company all had MBA’S or 25 years plus experience. Jonathan was keen to ensure his personal development would gain him access to the level of responsibility he desired and a role he aspired too. A year after Jonathan completed his two year executive MBA he finally became a Director and his now thriving in his roll.
The next person I would like to talk about is Marie.
Marie started 6 years ago in HR doing administrative rolls. After some time she was asked to stand in for a sick colleague and assist doing phone interviews. She really enjoyed doing the pre-screening and organising the interviews as part of her admin role. When the economy worsened, Marie was let go. As part of the redundancy package she choose to attend some courses. She had heard that the only area in her company that was safe was IT. Marie really struggled with the consultation period and uncertainty so for her, a role in IT would be really good. For her personal development she enrolled in some Microsoft courses and managed to gain a handful of MCSE’S. Marie applied for a number of roles in IT but never got short-listed for any interviews. Reluctantly she started to apply for HR admin rolls.
Personal development is very important but what we can learn from these two cases is that Personal development on its own is not a short term solution. Personal development needs to support your long term goals and need to be backed up with experience and a great attitude. Personal development for short term gain is likely to be unsuccessful and needs to be approached with care.
For people who want to have a career change personal development is key but so is gaining experience and a great attitude. When planning a career change and you require significant personal development make sure everything fits together. Starting at looking what it is you really want to do in three to five years is your first priority. Understanding your transferable skills and having a plan to either start a the lower end for the ladder or have a plan to accelerate your experience is the next step. Finally comes the attitude towards really wanting that goal and what you are willing to do to get there.
Next time when you sit down and want to look at your personal development plan think about the following 3 things
– Why am I choosing this personal development route?
– How is it going to enhance my career?
– Do I have a plan to ensure that my skills, experience and attitude’s are in line with the choice of my personal development route?
* I would like to thank them for letting me use their stories, I did change the names.