A real secret to success? Investing in professional development


“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” — Jack Welch

Many great business leaders attribute a good portion (if not all) their success to surrounding themselves with great people. In addition to taking the right steps to retain only the most effective, productive team possible, you want to KEEP your team great by requiring professional development opportunities both inside and outside the office. Listed below are a few different ideas to foster professional development. Remember, it’s not always a multi-day course out of town.

Great presentation skills. Whether the focus is on a new business meeting, an important sales pitch or a panel discussion, I doubt you’ll find one person on your team who wouldn’t benefit from a lesson in public speaking or joining an organization like Toastmasters International. Many people think that knowing a topic well will translate to a successful presentation, but there is a big difference between mastering the knowledge in your head versus clearly communicating a message or concept. Public speaking is one of your organization’s most visible brands, so investing in training and other opportunities to finesse that skillset is extremely important.

Conference/Training/Seminar. Sending a critical team member out of the office during normal business hours may be a struggle if your business is small and they are truly critical, but they deserve the opportunity to grow professionally. Perhaps you send them to training in their current skillset, or in a new skillset where you want to see them grow — it’s a decision you both make. And sending them to training locally or to an out-of-town event can be rewarding and should pay off for your company in the long run. (We’ve seen clients request a payback arrangement if the employee doesn’t stay with the company for one year after the training.)

Networking. What feels like second nature to some can seem torturous for others. Unless you are a natural extrovert, networking is, in fact, a lot of work. But sometimes the most valuable connections take place behind the scenes at conferences, at a national trade meeting or even on the golf course. It’s important to empower your employees to feel comfortable representing your organization when speaking with others, even on a smaller scale. While networking training opportunities certainly exist, sometimes all it takes is practice. Encourage your team to get out there and network, and make sure you carve occasional time out of their schedule for them to do so.

Even if it feels like, and it is, time away from your day-to-day tasks, professional development is a key contributor to the overall success of your business — if you never get out of the four walls of your office, how can you grow enough to contribute back to your organization?

Certain skillsets act as secret weapons in the business world, and its important to invest in the training and resources that will give you and your team an edge.

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