Professional development is critical if we want to grow into highly-valued consultants, employees, and athletes. It’s not a one-time deal either. We need to constantly seek out new knowledge and capability if we want to remain useful and viable.
My business requires me to know a lot about management, process improvement, leadership development, and team cohesiveness. I learned most of this on the job, built on the foundation of my graduate studies in organizational leadership at Chapman University, with quite a bit from constant reading. I can humbly say that I’m pretty good at my trade and craft.
But that’s not enough. Certainly not enough to differentiate me from any of my competitors.
About two years ago I realized that I sucked at sales and marketing. I was afraid to sell, had no idea how to properly promote my products and services, and was operating on the backs of a few steady clients and some cheap-ass contract work. Reading more books on leadership, management, and strategy was useless. What I needed to do was SELL!
That was the shift that really made last year a year of significant growth. I read every book I could find on marketing, sales, and promotion. I developed a new sales strategy, implemented a CRM system, partnered with my admin staff to help me run it, and got comfortable asking for the sale. Broadening my knowledge was the key. I’m sure some of my competitors get frustrated when they can’t seem to land any new clients but then decide to read more books on leadership development. Find the area you’re weak in and shore it up! Maximizing your strengths only applies when you do that StrengthsFinder 2.0 stuff.
But what about you? Have you maxed out on your current level of knowledge? It’s possible. Even some wise king in ancient days said something to the effect of “What has been will be again. What has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun.” If your craft is coaching, quit reading coaching books and start reading sales books. If your trade is woodwork shift your strategy to getting more clients rather than trying to outsmart your competitors with old tactics.
And one caveat. While there is nothing new under the sun, don’t abandon staying current in your field. It’s all about professional balance.
If you’re serious about career development, success, job security, and winning, be sure to make professional development a priority.