Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Your Professional Development

What’s up KD!! It’s been a long time since we last talked. I hope that all is well. I have been swamped with work and life, but I had a minute, so I wanted to drop you a line.

This month’s blog is about great professional development resources. I was once told “You will be the same thing that you are a year from now only with the added books that you have read, knowledge you have acquired, and experiences that you have gained.” So, I, as you could probably guess, place a very high value on developing myself professionally.

I know that it may seem odd to suggestion additional resources or readings, since we are in an MBA program, but I have found a few tips that have been really helpful for me to easily incorporate into a busy life.

So, here are a few tips that I have for developing yourself professionally.

  • Pick a topic or area where you wanted to develop yourself personally or professionally.

For me, I have spent a lot of time reading management texts because I have wanted to add those resources to my professional tool kit. Since then, I have expanded other areas, and of late, my topic of choice has been related to my faith. However, independent of the topic, you have to first pick one to get started.

  • Start finding resources on your topic.

For many people, resources often mean purchasing and/or attempting to read books. However, there are tons of other resources that are out there to be used, many of which are free. Here are a few examples of things that I use.

First, I have become a lover of audiobooks and podcasts. One of my favorite podcasts is “What Great Bosses Know” by Jill Geisler from the Poynter Institute. It has great resources for supervision of staff. However, there are tons, upon tons of other free podcasts that have valuable information that you can use around just about any topic. Additionally, all of these podcasts often have small nuggets of learning that you can immediately use.

Second, start using your colleagues in your job or community. Since you know the topic you want to ask about, invite people out to a lunch interview or other meeting. Use the time to ask them questions about themselves, their job, their experiences, or other valuable knowledge. I got this idea from John Maxwell, and it has been very valuable for me, as I try to figure out my next career steps.

Finally, use social media. There are lots of people who have Facebook and Twitter accounts for communicating with friends; however, there are also tons of pieces of news and professional development from all fields that can be found in both Facebook and Twitter. In fact, I have found that Twitter has become one of my most valuable pieces of professional development because of the sheer value of information available by following the right people and/or groups.

  • Use the resources immediately.

I have found that with most professional development tools, the sooner I use them, the more likely I am to retain the information. So, find ways to immediately use the information you find, if you deem it valuable. The earlier you use it, the fresher it will be in your mind, and the more likely it will help you grow.

Well, KD, I hope that you have found these tips helpful for your professional development. I know they have been helpful for me. Until next time, I’ll catch you later!!

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