As someone who is a leader, you probably know that it is important to continually develop yourself. The pace of change and the demands on leaders mean that, rather than being a luxury, continuing professional development (CPD) is now a necessity.
The trouble is, while people see spending money on plant and equipment as an investment, they often see spending money on developing people and themselves as a cost. This is re-enforced in financial statements where we record building, plant and equipment as an asset on the balance sheet but the salaries of people as an expense on the profit and loss account. Interestingly, we rarely hear leaders saying that equipment is our greatest asset.
So maybe the issue is about how to get great results from CPD and how you do this. Here are my top tips:
Create your own tailored plan
There are some core things that leaders need to master but in truth the more senior you become, the more tailored or personalised your development plan needs to be. It needs to focus on helping you get even better at the things you do really well and improving the things that are important to develop.
Don’t be constrained by traditional approaches
Historically, you might have been offered the opportunity to attend an in house leadership development programme or take an advanced level qualification like a MBA. However, there are many more options open to you, such as having your own coach or mentor, attending short workshops, podcasts, webinars for example. Make sure that you are not being constrained by traditional thinking.
Apply what you learn
Knowledge is wonderful but it is application of the knowledge that makes the difference. You might be the best read leader in the land but, unless you are applying that knowledge, the results you are getting are not likely to be significantly different.
Set up some form of accountability
How often do you go off to an event, course or programme and come back all fired up? Quite a lot of the time I am guessing. The trouble is life takes over and you can easily fall into the old ways pretty quickly. Having some form of accountability, where you report back on what you have achieved, can make a huge difference.
The Bottom Line: Continuing professional development is no longer an optional extra if you want to be a successful leader.
Duncan Brodie helps accountants and business professionals to become highly effective leaders and managers and achieve the career success they desire. He invites you to sign up for one of is free courses here
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.