Be a Lifelong Learner

Professional development is the gym membership for your career — continually strengthening and flexing your skill set to keep your capabilities fit and agile in the corporate relay race. Development comes in all shapes and sizes, from having a coach to attending a conference or participating in workshops to reading a book that can help you advance in your field. But how are these learning opportunities connected to your goals?

Sitting down with Mary Ann O’Brien, founder and CEO of OBI Creative, in a recent episode of “The Frustrated CEO” podcast sparked a conversation on how the benefits of professional development extend far beyond skill enhancement. Working closely with her leadership team, I’ve watched their success bloom — not only preparing them for the challenges of today but also equipping them with the knowledge to innovate and lead in the future.

Still skeptical about the value behind professional development? Consider how your company could prosper if you were to achieve your highest potential.

Go From Trend Watching to Trend Setting

Imagine yourself at the forefront of the industry, not just adapting to changes but driving them. Technology is shaping the future, so it’s essential to take advantage of emerging tools. Otherwise, your business could get left behind as innovation moves forward.

However, staying up to date on trends and the latest technology can feel like trying to sail uncharted waters. Luckily, in this vast sea of constant change, professional development is the compass that guides us to ensure that we’re not just afloat but navigating purposefully toward our desired destination.

Various means of workshops, seminars, online courses or articles not only teach you the latest and greatest in your field but also empower you to integrate cutting-edge methodologies into your business. Who knows? Maybe you’ll expand your knowledge so much that you’ll be setting trends, instead of following.

Network for Growth

If a class or a book isn’t your cup of tea, it may be time to master the art of networking. And who better to learn from than your peers? As many of you know, networking is about more than swapping business cards and engaging with posts on LinkedIn.

Ready to listen and learn. Seek out those more skilled or experienced in areas you want to get better at, then ask good questions, pay attention and be open to implementing what you learn. Remember, to embrace growth, and commit to never being the smartest person in the room.

Lead by Example

As a leader, your team looks to you for direction, but even the most seasoned CEOs have room for growth. Show your team that you know you don’t have all the answers. Yes, you read that right. Your team needs to see that you’re committed to sharpening your skills to excel in your role.

Promote the trainings you attend, or new education absorbed with positivity. Encourage people to seek out professional development opportunities that excite them. Hire an executive coach to grow your team’s strengths (spoiler, we have some great experienced coaches who can help you). You may even be surprised when your actions inspire other employees to follow suit.

To listen to Mary Ann O’Brien’s episode of “The Frustrated CEO,” you can find the recording here. Prefer to see our expertise in action? Watch the video on our YouTube channel.