If your organization is not giving you training and development dollars, you may want to do it yourself. It is important to maintain your competitive edge. I suggest that you determine where your feel you need to grow or development a certain skill. As well, stay up-to-date on what you do really well.
To help you create a new development plan for 2013 I suggest to conduct a survey from your friends, family and/or coworkers. Start by using www.surveymonkey.com. Create a survey that ask questions such as “What areas do you feel I could use to maximize my talent in XYZ”? Be sure to use the comment box to allow others to provide suggestions and ideas. If you have never used SurveyMonkey, take the time. It will pay off. You can use up to 10 questions for free so keep it under that amount of questions. A few suggestions as you develop your survey.
1. When requesting feedback from someone let them know how much time it should take. For example, this survey should only take about 8 minutes to complete.
2. Tell them why you are asking for their feedback. Let them know you value their constructive comments and that you are creating a personal development agenda.
3. Tell them that the information is in confidence. It will never be used or shared with others.
4. Give them a cutoff date. Ask them to provide the feedback within the week so you can gather the necessary information.
Once you have your feedback, look at it objectively, perhaps have a friend or partner help you evaluate it. In fact, asking several friends to review and come back with feedback could be valuable. Once you have all thefeedback, make a list of priorities of development. Tackle one at a time. Do not get overwhelmed. Just chop away one piece at a time. Within one year you will be amazed at how you have grown. Many times, where we don’t excel is because it is not one of our greatest talents. For example, you may be a great engineer but do not do well in public speaking; however, you find yourself having to present to a board or city council. Take a course to make you more comfortable at presenting. You are not trying to make yourself a great speaker, you are a great engineer. Just learn how to communicate effectively so others appreciate your talents as well. Remember, you have to communicate who you are and what you know in a way that comfortable for you! Don’t expect to be Tony Robbins. You are not him and he is not you!
Also, keep in mind to reinforce what you do well. If you are a good writer, perhaps tutor underprivileged children in writing one day a week or take writing courses. If you are a great speaker, take more courses on public speaking to stay on top of the latest and greatest info. Everything is constantly changing.
Remember, growth and development is in your hands. If you don’t define your destiny, someone else will. Who is defining yours?
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Happy New Year!