The article provides a number of tips and step by step describes how to properly organize your personal development for career growth.
Behind every outstanding career is hard work, talent, a bit of luck and a carefully planned strategy.
The value of the employee at the current place of work is determined by the result that he brings to the company. Problems of what complexity he solves. How much time and other resources it takes. How autonomously it works. What percentage of errors is allowed.
An analyst who knows how to work with macros in MS Excel will make a report faster. A sales manager who knows how to identify customer needs will close more deals. A secretary who knows English will better organize a conference for foreign partners.
The value of the employee at the current place of work is determined by knowledge, skills and the ability to put them into practice.
Career is determined by the ability to learn to solve more complex problems. The analyst coordinates the colleagues – a step towards the team lead. A sales manager teaches beginners – a step towards the head of the department. The secretary foresees the tasks of the leader – a step towards a personal assistant.
How is learning a new skill?
There are 9 steps that a person usually goes through in the learning process. In each case, the steps may change places, merge, or some of them may not be. After completing each of the steps, a person can return to rethinking already completed stages, taking into account new experience and information.
Step # 1 – Determine Motivation
Motivation is our “battery charge” – how much effort we are ready to exert to achieve the desired result. With low motivation, we will abandon our goal even with a slight obstacle. With high – set to “victory at all costs.”
The most common are three main sources of motivation for learning.
Interest – I wonder how the human brain works, so I study neuropsychology.
Desire – I want to work in an international company – for this I need to learn English.
Current discomfort or potential problems – I need to learn how to plan my day so as not to lose my job.
If a person is driven by interest – the first case – the motivation is self-sufficient. With a high degree of probability, the desired skill will be mastered. If a person learns to achieve a goal – the second and third cases – additional work is needed to comprehend the goal and keep it in the focus of attention.
Step # 2 – Define the meanings
Why should I achieve the goal? What exactly will I get as a result? What are my wishes I can realize?
I want to work in an international company in order to: 1) get a stable income and a social package; 2) regularly learn and develop professionally; 3) move to work abroad.
Ask yourself the question “why” several times – look for deeper meanings.
I need a stable income in order to: 1) raise money to buy an apartment; 2) regularly help parents; 3) travel at least twice a year.
The more precisely and more deeply a person understands the meaning of achieving a goal, the higher and more stable the motivation, the higher the chance to reach the result.
Let’s move on to practice
Remember your professional goals
Double the income, become the head of the department, start your own business, get a second education, write a book, change your profession, …
Choose the goal that is most relevant at the moment. Which of the following inspires the most? What goal will change my life in the most desirable way?
We determine what meanings this goal has for you.
“If I double my income, I can: go on a trip to Europe on New Year’s, make repairs in the apartment during the year, monthly help my parents.”
Step # 3 – Identify the area of development
Who has already achieved the result you are striving for? What is he doing? What knowledge and skills does he have? What tasks and skills are most important?
Head of the sales department: manages the team, sets and monitors the fulfillment of goals, negotiates with the heads of other departments, trains employees, maintains financial records, negotiates with key customers.
Can you do the same amount of tasks today? What do you need to learn?
Let’s move on to practice.
We are looking for role models – those people who have already achieved the result that you are striving for. We attend master classes. Watch training videos. Looking for examples in the movies. Read the interview.
We study ourselves. We keep a diary. Request feedback. We pass the tests.
Step # 4 – Provide an overview of the selected area
LinkedIn’s educational platform, www.lynda.com, helps you identify which skills are in your area of development. Enter your request in the search field and browse the names of the courses offered – this is the list of necessary skills. The site is available only in English. If you’re just learning a language, www.translate.google.com helps you translate unfamiliar words or the entire site.
Break the question down into components.
I want to learn how to manage a team. Studying the issue of leadership, you will make a list of narrower topics that it includes: goal setting, emotional intelligence, motivation, development, presentation and public speaking, influence and negotiations, conflict management.
I want to have time to do more tasks during the working day. Studying the issue of productivity, you will come across topics: time management, setting priorities, setting goals, self-motivation, problem solving skills.
Find specialized sources.
What sites and print media specialize in your topic? What books are written? What professional and scientific communities exist? Study the materials in Russian and, if possible, in English. Work with sources with reliable information : books that have survived several editions; specialized magazines; research of universities and consulting companies; scientific publications.
Select and read the book that addresses the issue most fully. For example, if you are studying the topic of negotiations, start with the book “Negotiating without defeat. Harvard Method. ”
Step # 5 – Find mentors
Who can help in further exploring the area you have chosen? Prompt, set an example, ask the right question, teach a specific skill.
Find professionals – in your immediate environment, in your city, country, on the Internet. List authors, speakers, and experts who work in your chosen field. Visit their workshops, watch their videos. Determine what role each of them can play.
Role model – already achieved what you want:
trainer – able to teach specific skills.
Mentor – ready to share his experience and views.
coach – can formulate the right question and help find the answer.
teacher – sees the “next version of me”, has enough experience to help reveal it, is interested in my training.
One person can combine several roles. Choose those people who have sufficient competencies and who you want to learn from
Step # 6 – Highlight a specific skill
You have chosen a development area, studied it and divided it into components – you need to focus. What is worth exploring more deeply? What specific skills need to be developed? Where to start? What 20% effort will produce 80% of the result?
Set priorities according to your goal. What will help you get closer to the desired result?
Learning English consists of grammar lessons, speaking and writing skills, reading and recognizing listening skills, exercises to increase vocabulary. If you mainly need English to attend meetings, it makes sense to focus on speaking, listening, and vocabulary. Grammar, reading and writing in this case is not the main priority.
Examine yourself in more detail. What are you already doing in this area? What individual tasks do you perform?
You do not yet have direct subordinates, but you set tasks for the courier and control the delivery time. You do not manage projects yet, but already help to keep track of the budget. You are not yet working in the HR department, but are already taking part in the interviews.
Request feedback – what you are already doing well, and in what areas errors occur.
Try yourself in a new role. Take part in the project. Offer help to a leader or colleague. Take training with the practical part. Request feedback.
Talk with experts – what skills do they recommend to pay attention to first of all?
Make a list of 3-5 skills. Choose one whose development will change your life in the most desirable way for you.
Step # 7 – Choose a convenient way to learn
Everything is quite simple here:
- take into account your personal characteristics so that you are comfortable and comfortable
- you can try to use different techniques (gaming, online consultations, group classes) to acquire different skills
- it is very important to organize your space correctly so that no one distracts you, on the other hand, so that your environment (colleagues, friends, relatives) supports and encourages your actions.
Step # 8 – Create a Personal Development Plan
Drawing up a clear plan allows you to not only understand your own goals, but also gradually develop ways to achieve them, motivate yourself to develop yourself.
What is a personal career plan?
This is a step-by-step guide to action, showing your steps towards your own professional heights. In other words, if you are planning a career and want to once head, for example, the department of a large company, you should at least clearly understand what kind of education and experience you need for this. Obviously, you will have to work as a regular employee, then, possibly, get additional education, engage in self-development, achieve promotion, etc. It is this path with adjustments and changes that is your career development plan.
The presence of such a “personal” schedule will help you not to go astray and clearly follow the given direction, and also to praise yourself for success.
If you follow a very simple algorithm, then drawing up a career plan consists of three stages. Let us take as an analogy the problem from the textbook on mathematics for the fourth grade. Your train left point A and headed to point B, where it needs to arrive exactly one year later. What speed should he move to catch his destination on time?
In order for the solution to be correct, three steps must be performed:
- Determine the exact parameters of point B – where is it and what do you want to find there.
- Before leaving point A, conduct a thorough inspection of your “train”: assess what experience, knowledge, skills, useful contacts for your career you already have. This will be a kind of fuel reserve.
- Given the quantity and quality of the fuel, determine:
- what stops and when it is advisable to do (these will be the points of verification of the correctness of the route of movement of the “train” and following the schedule);
- when you need to replenish fuel supplies (what new knowledge / skills, training and self-development, additional finances and time you will need);
- which fellow travelers will be simply necessary for you along the way (people who can help and provide support).
Step # 9 – Forming Habits
Often all our plans remain plans, because there is no habit of planning. This is a feature of our mentality. Some do not believe in plans because in our country “everything is unpredictable,” while others see this as a limitation of their freedom.
Studying the mechanisms and reasons for the formation of character traits, psychologists concluded that the whole range of our daily actions is based on habits. Some of us acquired in childhood, others acquired in adulthood and vaguely guess the reasons for their origin.
Fixing different habits requires a different amount of time – from 21 days to several months. It all depends on how far the desired result is from the state of affairs at the very beginning of work on oneself.
How to form a habit?
- In any business, the most important thing is the first step. If you want to make your life better, don’t wait for Monday – you can do something right now.
- Easy and pleasant habits are fixed easily, difficult ones require a lot of time and effort. Therefore, try to connect the process of habit formation with pleasant emotions.
- Do not overdo it. In the first three days, a new lifestyle may seem easy and enjoyable, which can lead to an overdose. “I thought it was difficult, and it is so cool! I can do everything! Another 20 laps in the stadium, and I will become almost perfect! ”To prevent this from happening, you need to make a certain pace of work and not deviate from it, even if it seems that you are capable of more. In general, a little better is a month than a week before exhaustion.
Habits need not only to be formed, but also to learn to understand what results each of them leads to. In order to “catch” secret saboteurs, we recommend that you keep a diary (you can electronic) and write everything you do there. After a month, isolate the most regular actions in your notes and think about whether they are beneficial or vice versa, harm health and reduce performance?
And finally, I want to recall one important idea:
“Only I myself am fully responsible for my life, and only I myself can make changes to improve it”
Good luck to everyone in development and career growth!