What does our personal development strategy look like, in real-life? We have the best intentions, yet are time-constrained. Often, we are conflicted when our employer’s business strategy eats into our own ideas for best serving clients and colleagues.
At the end of each day, we feel as though we play a continuous tug-of-war, involving both values and thinking skills.
How do we keep on track, to honor our employer’s KPIs: for us and for them? Yet, how do we honor our own personal and professional KPIs, to grow and flourish?
Here are 3 strategies to keep us on track, while we give ourselves permission to wander off that beaten path. Perhaps a bit of a road less professionally-traveled? These strategies are part of my professional development workshops.
The first personal development strategy: THINK. Become relentlessly curious.
How much do we understand about the context of those current workplace practices and processes we unquestioningly adhere to? Did these spontaneously arise out of the mist, one morning? Or, does “The Way We Do Things” reflect a rigid, inflexible system? Also, when it comes to systems and rules, are we talking about the mix of workplace machines, software and people? Or just one factor or another?
Today’s and Tomorrow’s digitally transforming workplaces are dynamic ecosystems, not Yesterday’s two-dimensional, static file-folders. Explore the answers to these questions by testing the constraints of existing systems and mindset.
Consider how being relentlessly curious about the professional, human capital value of “What We Do” helps our organization stay on track. Then ask: is that track as robust , yet nimble, as it should be?
The second personal development strategy: READ stuff which makes us uncomfortable.
Consider the health of our Inboxes. Are these full of orders from others? Or, do we subscribe to online (or even written!) journals and newsletters from professional disciplines outside of our own?
The majority of professionals I coach do not stray over the lines of their departmental function. However, they tell me that they often interact with professionals from other workplace disciplines. Mandatory interaction is not synonymous with collaboration. Unless, that is, people become more curious about learning about “What Other People Do.”
A great place to start learning how to reach across departmental silos, and the operations-business abyss, is to pick up a copy of my book, Do YOU Mean Business? I offer 16 Industry 4.0 collaboration hacks, tailor-made for today’s digitally transforming workplaces.
Then, follow up! Ask colleagues to recommend the newsletters and journals that they read. Subscribe. Start learning how “what you do” impacts and adds to “what they do.”
The third personal development strategy: TAKE ACTION by collaborating outside of our current professional comfort level.
By exploring, thinking and reading outside our comfort level, we begin to act differently. First, we communicate using terminology outside our current professional discipline. Then, we become interested in professional resources outside of the narrowly-focused options, comfortably ensconced within our departments. As a result, we extend our professional reach beyond the well-worn, beaten path of the status quo. Eventually, we move away from serving only as comfortable order-takers.
How much wiggle room is built into our current workplace processes and practices? Is our organization paying lip-service to thinking outside of the box, while ignoring untapped machinery, software and people potential within the existing box? What is your next step?
Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset™ speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation and the type of workforce engagement experiences which fuel customer success and business growth. Her professional speaker profile appears on the espeakers platform. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Babette’s Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. To learn more about what her programs can achieve for you, your team, your organization and your association, contact her, right here.
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