A few months ago I wrote a post about making the most out of professional development programs. With many training budgets being cut or eliminated, the days of formal development programs where employees had nothing to do but focus on learning may be a thing of the past. That may not be an entirely bad thing, if organizations move to more effective blended programs, however, it does mean that participation in formal programs will be harder to be selected for. With the changes we know are coming in the make up of the workforce and the speed at which emerging leaders will need to become leaders, the decline in formal program participation will result in little "bench" strength in organizations. Those individuals who choose to commit to a program on their own, outside of work, will be far ahead of their counterparts who expect the organization to teach them what they need to know.
If you haven't already worked through Your Personal Plan - Part I, do so now.
So you should have a journal entry about what your values and your lofty dreams mean to you, work together in your life, and connect (or don't). You should also have 2-3 three goals you have prioritized as the most important on which you want to work. Don't worry, when you've reached these three, you can go back and pick up the next most important three.
Look at the goals you have picked. For each one consider, what steps do you need to take to achieve it, what "partners" can you ask to help you, by when would you like to have the individual steps and main goal complete. WRITE ALL OF THIS DOWN in your journal in detail. I also recommend making a copy and placing it somewhere you can see it all the time (at your desk, on your refrigerator, etc.) and giving a copy to any partners from which you solicit help.
For the next month, using a page of your journal each day, make two or three columns on the page (depending on how many goals you are working on) and write each day your thoughts about the goal and any progress you made towards achieving it.
Share your experiences along the way with us on this post!
One way you can utilize partners in this process indirectly is to work through the process with a friend. You each pick your own goals and then meet via phone or in person for 30 minutes each week and spend 15 minutes each talking about your progress towards your goals. Even if the other person never says a word, the accountability to report to another person will help motivate some. It is far more likely that this person will become your cheerleader along the way (give them the same in return!). This is not mentoring or peer coaching but it is a very effective way to approach personal and professional development outside of a formal plan.