How fast are you learning?
How fast is the world around you changing?
The difference between your two answers is your speed towards irrelevancy. The fast-paced, ever-changing world we live in requires us to constantly evaluate, adapt, and innovate. 2020 has only increased the pace of change and the demand for continual learning.
Howard Hendricks said, “If you want to continue leading, you must continue changing.” In today’s world, this couldn’t be more true. In today’s learning economy, knowledge acquisition now trumps knowledge retention. Gone are the days where the degree you earned years ago is sufficient for the leadership you need now. Strategies that worked today, won’t work tomorrow.
Not only is there a greater need for learning, but it’s now easier than ever. Information that used to be limited to a classroom or a workplace, is now one Google search away. With the rapid changes happening in the world, the bar for leading has never been higher; but thanks to technology, the barrier for learning has never been lower.
7 Ways To Invest In Professional Development
As you enter the upcoming year, the question isn’t if you will invest in professional development, but how. As the learner, you can now personalize your experience to what works best for your learning style and your budget. Whether you choose digital or in-person, audio or written, free or purchased, you now have the ability to build your own “Learning Journey” that will help your leadership thrive.
Below are seven different ways that you can invest in professional development in the upcoming year.
- Podcasts and blogs: Nowadays, leaders make more of their content accessible for free through podcasts and blogs. Choose a handful of influencers that you respect the most and schedule time in your week to read or listen to their weekly content.
- Networking: Another free option is to regularly reach out to leaders across the country for video calls. I strive to have 2-4 video calls a month with leaders in other churches where I ask strategic questions. Even more than the insights I gain from the call, the relationships I form with fellow leaders greatly shape my leadership. In addition to video calls, in-person visits can be greatly beneficial.
- Books: Determine a few areas you want to grow and then create a reading list with books focused on those topics. As you finish books, consider how you can retain and apply what you learn. In a previous post, I stress the importance of a File It & Find It system and share how I document what I learn from the books I read.
- Conferences: Whether online or in-person, conferences provide inspiring moments that can rejuvenate one’s passion. Due to its formats, most conferences are great at motivating, but not as helpful in equipping. Be strategic on how you will put the principles you learn into practice.
- Coaching: Whether it is 1-on-1 or in a group, coaching can be a great way for you to grow as a leader. Unlike the contexts above, this environment provides you with personalized training. If you choose a group coaching model (e.g. cohorts, Masterminds, etc.) then it also provides great networking opportunities.
- Consulting: If coaching focuses on fulfilling the leader’s potential, consulting focuses on fulfilling the organization’s potential. Consultants provide personalized insights that can help you and your organization gain catalytic clarity and propel you towards your preferred future.
- Certifications: Certain training courses provide certifications upon completion. In addition to the value you and your organization receive from the training, the certification can be a form of credentials that validates the participant in the future.