The Fifth Development “P”

Imagine yourself walking into a supermarket that sells every skill, ability, and competency.  What one skill would you select that would grow you the most in your current job?

This is Dr. Beverly Kaye’s final question from which you can begin your plan.

A Plan exists of two parts.  First, knowing what you need to do. Next, knowing how to develop the skill to do it.

The past few weeks have covered knowing what you need to do.  By asking questions about Place, Person, Perspective, and Possibilities, one identifies what compels oneself to achieve, to accomplish.  From there,  you need to figure out how to propel yourself further.

The ways that this can be accomplished?

  • Through observation
  • By completing an assignment
  • By taking a course
  • With a mentor, or a coach
  • By joining a peer group

The resource that you choose, of course, is integral to your plan.

The typical resource that people choose is, it seems, taking a course.  It’s important to recognize that this isn’t the only resource.  Frankly, taking a course to develop a skill is akin to throwing money at a problem.  It may produce results, just not necessarily the results that we want.  One of the most valuable courses that I took, a Human Performance Improvement certificate program offered through Chapman University in partnership with ASTD National, held its value through its assignments.  In addition to the considerable reading (which I did not complete in its entirety — I’ve no doubt my instructor recognized that straight off), we were given assignments that directly related to our work.  If your classes follow the same model, you’re likely to learn a lot.  If not, then I fear you’ll be challenged to apply whatever you learn in the very job you’re trying to develop yourself at.

Let’s take, for example, writing a proposal. How can one develop their ability to write proposals?

A key skill necessary for proposal-creation is writing, a business skill that many leaders feel is underdeveloped in today’s growing workforce. So perhaps one could find a business writing class, which will help one master the rules of grammar.  But does that  help the corporate leader seeking someone who can draft a proposal on the fly?  Even were the business writing class be directly focused on proposal writing, it’s doubtful.  The proposals in class might not necessarily apply to one’s work — how often have we been in a class fraught with generic exercises that are the equivalent of “if Joe S. takes a train leaving Butte, and Jill S. takes a train leaving Biloxi, when will they meet?”

So we need to find other resources.  We could observe our leaders write their own proposal.  We could then write a proposal of our own, one that isn’t to be viewed by corporate leadership, one that just gives us practice.  We can then start writing proposals for our job, using our leader as a sounding board, or coach, before submitting the proposal elsewhere.  We could work with other proposal-writing members of our team to find out what they do that works, or what they’ve been told doesn’t.

At least, that’s the plan.

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