Why You Must Take Control of Your Professional Development

professional development

Take control of your own professional development.

Leaving your professional development up to your boss or organization is risky because:

  1. They may never invest in it.
  2. They may guess wrong in terms of where you’d like to develop.
  3. They may only provide it in limited doses…when there’s a new organizational initiative or when a you get a bad annual review.

It’s too important for you to leave in the hands of others, and the good news is that taking control is much easier than you think.

Professional Development is a Two-Way Street

Depending on your organization to dole out professional development is like turning your monthly budgeting over to your financial advisor or turning over your entire well being to your physician.

Sure, their input is helpful; but you own the outcome.  It’s your money, your health, and your career.  No one will ever care as much about the outcome as you do.

Yet time and again this relinquishing of control plays out…

Look at your calendar now. Is there a professional development course or training that you’ve personally signed up for, or is your development limited to what’s flowed through the organization’s online learning management library?

There’s nothing wrong with pursuing the training that your organization assigns; but if that’s it for you, my premise is that you’re missing something very important.

Ideally, professional development is a “two way street.”  It has a positive impact on your performance for the organization as well as your own professional growth.

So take control where you can, identify mutually beneficial options, and reap the benefits of an improved professional development experience including:

  • A significant return on investment for your organization, your boss, and yourself.
  • Alignment with your organization’s goals as well as your own
  • A comprehensive, enjoyable training versus one that feels like another trip to the dentist

Try these three steps…

Step 1: Choose Your Own Adventure

The most common mistake people make is they don’t choose.

Instead, get involved. Make a choice.

Think of professional development as “choose your own adventure” whereas based on your situation, you get to decide where you grow next.

Discover the professional work direction that excites. Then proactively make the linkage to your current job where you’d like to head in your career.  Will you:

  • Expand and develop in your current role?
  • Move up in the organization?
  • Move into a different role all together?

Step 2: Explore the Options to Get You There

Based upon the direction you choose in step 1, spend a few minutes exploring the options.  There are several factors to consider:
  • Convenient delivery method – Make sure that the training is delivered conveniently in a way you can get to it during your work schedule.
  • On-going support for your development – Consider how you’ll get your questions answered and if there is a way to connect directly with the person teaching the training for additional support.
  • Return on investment – When you invest you own money and time as well as that of the organization, calculate the return.
  • Engagement factorProfessional development should be a “get to”, not a “have to”.  Ensure that the training is engaging enough to hold your interest and keep you coming back to learn more.

Step 3:  Initiate the Conversation

Instead of waiting for the boss to tell you the best place for your growth, initiate the conversation yourself.

Share your personal vision and propose some ways your organization could support you.

Why not start the conversation with your boss on how they can support you with money and/or time?  If they aren’t able to support you financially, perhaps they’ll provide the time for your to pursue it.

If neither of the those are available, consider the professional development that’s high enough impact for you to pursue after work hours.

To taking control of your professional development!


PS:  It’s not too late to enroll in Quit Alternative Training Academy…professional development for creating the job you love.