Real leaders are always trying new things, always looking for ways to grow. Why is that so important? Our world is not static. It is in a constant state of change. I think you’ll agree that the rate of change is increasing every year. Unfortunately many see training and personal development as optional, not essential. This short term view can be costly in the long term. Training is an investment, not a cost. It is an investment in yourself as an entrepreneur or your people as an employer.

In today’s marketplace, if you are not investing in training, you are falling behind. Investing in developing your leadership skills is an investment in your business. You can only rise as high as your leadership ability. Your ability to cast a vision for that business, navigate a path to get there and influence enough of the right people to get there. To stand out in today’s marketplace means not only keeping up with the pace of change but staying ahead of it. In short, to be a leader.

Start with a few questions to begin to understand where to invest your time and money is to assess your needs and then develop a plan to fill them:

  1. What knowledge and skills I need to move forward?

Look at what gaps there may be in your skill set. Performance reviews are the norm in the corporate world, but when was the last time you gave yourself a performance review?

  1. What strengths can I build on?

There are a lot of great assessment tools out there that can help you identify your key strengths. Sometimes the follow up reports can be confusing though. They don’t always give us real world application ideas. Having someone like a coach to help you understand them makes them easier to use as a tool for development.

  1. What assignments or experience I need?

When was the last time you asked for an assignment that challenged you? That pushed you to do things you were not already great at? Projects or assignments that are outside our comfort zone but inside our strength zone is how we become of the most value to others.

You can also ask yourself the inner work questions too:

  1. What behaviors might be holding me back?
  1. What attitudes might be holding me back?

These questions are more challenging to answer by yourself. Having an unbiased outside perspective can help us see ourselves the way others do.

Now that you better understand yourself, what is your plan to develop and grow yourself? Making time in your busy schedule for training and development is just as important as eating right and exercising. We all know that that it is the right thing to do but how many of us actually do it?

All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.

Calvin Coolidge


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