Professional Development – In Three Forms

It hardly seems true that January 2016 has come and (almost) gone already.  I feel as though 2016 just arrived and one-twelfth of it has ended.

I’m sure that most of you set some items to achieve this year as most folks do as one year ends and another begins.  Personally, I started setting goals for myself instead of resolutions.  My goals are in three broad categories and are monthly instead of yearly in nature.  I thought that having shorter term goals would help me be more successful (and so far, it’s been 67% true).  And, even though I have 12 career-type goals to focus on this year, I never considered planning my professional development for the year.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review provided me with a new outlook on professional development.  In its most formal sense, it has always been something that I endured because it was done to me.  It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve taken a more active role in my professional development and have chosen the topics that I wanted to explore.  However, I now know that there’s so much more to developing as a professional than I ever thought possible.

For example, Dorie Clark, author of “Plan Your Professional Development for the Year,” states that we should be asking how we can ensure that we are “more valuable at the end of the year than…at the beginning.”  This had never occurred to me.  Mostly I’ve looked at professional development in terms of what interested me or what I could learn from it.  Now I’m viewing it from a different perspective.  Instead of choosing opportunities because of convenience or interest, I want to start looking for opportunities that will increase my value as an employee.

Another interesting and entirely new concept is that professional development takes three forms – learning, connecting and creating.  I’m most familiar with the learning format.  This is when one identifies the gaps in one’s own knowledge or skills and seeks professional development opportunities to fill those gaps.

The second form, connecting, clearly goes against all of my introverted tendencies.  In this form, one attempts to build or strengthen the connections or relationships with those who have control over one’s professional future.  I have never really thought about this as professional development, but it makes sense and sounds like an extended form of networking.

The third form, creating, is one of the most underused forms according to Clark.  It consists of creating content and sharing one’s insights with others (through blogs, speeches, videos, etc.).  I, and my fellow CAPE specialists, have unwittingly been developing in this area since we started our blog in August.

I have not planned my professional development for the year, and I don’t expect you to do that either.  However, I did gain invaluable insight into professional development from reading this article, so I hope you check it out.  Also, as I work on establishing some connecting goals and continue to develop my creative and learning ones, I encourage you to work on your goals as well.  Our workshops for February are posted on the CAPE calendar and our March workshops will be available soon.  If you don’t see something that interests you or that makes you more valuable, let us know so that we can offer that workshop for you.  Also, if you would like to enhance your creative goals, we would love to have you facilitate a workshop or do a guest blog post.



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