Why CEO Professional Growth Is Often Overlooked
It’s no secret that a key to business success is investing in your employees. It’s important to support your direct reports with coaching, training and ongoing education… whatever it takes to enable and inspire them. But how often do you take the time to improve your professional acumen?
Just as with your employees, the more you put in to develop yourself, the more return you’ll get from your investment. Take responsibility for your professional growth and pledge to focus on yourself for a change with these steps:
1. Create a self-development plan with actions and dates that establish accountability. The very best leaders are self-driven, lifelong learners who were always putting their goals down on paper (or an app!) and assigning a timeline with action steps for accomplishing those goals. They remained personally accountable to whatever they were pushing themselves to learn, do or achieve. And having that plan written/typed (as opposed to just in the head) is critical. Ideas become less of a dream and more a reality because there is a carefully defined roadmap with action steps for implementation and a timeline for accountability.
2. Work with a trusted, honest mentor. Don’t just pick any ‘ole buddy or colleague you admire. Choose someone who is an expert in whatever you’re trying to accomplish, learn or understand. This person needs to have “been there, done that,” and have done it well! Make sure they have good coaching skills — someone who will patiently guide you in decision-making, but not tell you what to do. You want a mentor who is a straight shooter, always giving you the truth about your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Increase your expertise by engaging in relevant, continual learning opportunities. It’s important to make room for your professional development. But if that seems like a pipe dream, don’t worry… you can and should pace yourself to avoid burnout. Just like strength training at the gym, start off easy (but do get out of your comfort zone) to better your professional development. Perhaps commit to reading one chapter of a business book every night before bed. Maybe download an app that delivers business news to your Smartphone and scan the info while drinking your morning cup of coffee. Or, attend a CEO round-table discussion once a month. Good learning opportunities of all kinds and sizes are everywhere. Invest in yourself in ways big and small, and you’ll soon net noticeable rewards.