Self development – the key to successful growth
In today’s continually changing business environment, people want to be prepared for whatever comes next. Not only that, but in current Shared Service or Outsourcing environments, there is a never stopping desire to change, to evolve and to progress on the company ladder.
This easily brings about the topic of development, and how it needs to be perceived in today’s world.
Many a time I have heard people state that they have not been provided with sufficient opportunities and that is the reason why they were not more successful, get a specific position, or earn the money that they believe they deserve. To them, I say: “Was there anything that you have done to bring these opportunities on to you?”. Most of the time, the answer is “no”.
We often fail to realize that we are the owners of our own development; that nobody else can be made accountable for it. There can be so many factors that can hinder our growth, such as people not knowing our interests, not being visible enough at company or at industry level etc. We ourselves should not stand in our own way.
In order to succeed in achieving real self development, we need to follow a few steps which will allow us to see where we want to go, but also how we are going to get there:
- Sit down with yourself and really think about where you want to get to in the future. We all know the famous interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, and we all think we never ever want to hear it. However, if you deeply think about it and its logic, the question does not really say “What is your ideal job in 5 years?”, but rather “What would you ideally do in 5 year’s time?”. And this should be a question that each of us should be able to answer, because if we do not know where we are headed, we cannot possibly know how to get there. So, as a first step, think about what you like, and about what you would like to do. Do you see yourself leading people? Implementing new services? Counseling others on how to do business? Ok, then we have something to work towards.
- Once you have identified your goal, you will need to think about the skills that a person doing that job would need to have. At this point, you might be able to identify all or only a part of them. Writing them down will help. You might realize that the goals that you have identified are within your current organization, but they might also be outside it.
- Approach your manager and potentially ask for a 1-2-1. Share with them your long terms career plans and the areas which you have identified would require improvement. Ask them to also tell you what they believe you should work on. This meeting should be concluded with a realistic plan for development, both for the short and the long term, including smart objectives. This should include training sessions, work shadowing opportunities, being exposed to a variety of factors, or going hands on in an activity that is required for your progression.
Most of all, you need to be consistent about your desire to grow. Nobody else but you can know what you really want, or which are the skills at which you really excel. It is therefore your responsibility to point them out, and to always ask for development opportunities rather than wait for somebody to present them to you. Not only will this ensure that you get a chance to work on the areas that need development and which can move you towards your next challenge, but it will also show managers and their peers that you are proactive and that you seek opportunities, which can only benefit you in the long run.
As a wise man once said: “The person you are most likely to spend the rest of your life with is yourself, so you owe it to yourself to become as interesting as possible”. By working on our self development we will become the people we want to be, and start on the path of obtaining what we want and need in life in order to succeed.
Ana-Maria Petecila is a Senior Manager with over 7 years experience in the field of shared services and business process outsourcing, from handling global processes, to setting up an HR shared service from scratch or to leading a financial operation. She has managed teams ranging from 3 to over 100 employees, located in multiple locations across the world, thus allowing her to gain a thorough understanding of leadership, cultural differences, employee motivation and retention or talent management. Ana-Maria Petecila has implemented career development and performance management processes, as well as programs for leadership development.