Our world around us is ever-growing and ever-changing. The companies we create or work for are no different.
If the rate of change around you exceeds the rate at which you change, you will become irrelevant. It’s vitally important to continually grow in order to keep up with the competition.
HOW TO KEEP UP
The biggest question most entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs have is “how do I stay relevant?” That’s where a professional growth plan can be helpful. A professional growth plan is a written plan to help you develop the skills and capabilities to contribute at a higher level.
You must put in the time (and work) to figure out where you want to be and the skills you need to take you there.
CREATE A PLAN
Start by organizing your thoughts and goals. Think of it like a business plan or a future resume. Ask yourself these questions:
What objectives am I trying to achieve?
Where am I trying to go?
When do I want to get there?
How do I get there? (Do you need specific certifications, do you need to learn new skills, etc.)
Once you’ve thought of your goals in light of a business plan, think about how they translate to your calendar. Organize and prioritize your time so you can accomplish your goals. If you can’t find the time to pour yourself into these tasks, nothing will come to fruition. Read how these 13 tips can help you better manage your time.
ASSESS YOUR PLAN
You’ve spent time working toward the business growth plan you created. Now it’s time to pause and evaluate where you are and see if you are still on track. REPs is an easy way to evaluate your progress.
REP stands for:
Ask: Am I connecting with the right people? Who else can I be connecting with?
Connect with potential mentors or peers in your industry or with people who have complementary skills. For example: If you’re a graphic designer, get to know a web designer.
Ask: What am I learning? Have I received the certifications I need?
Education without application is just information. Reading is a huge part of education and growth. Here are a few of our favorite books to help you improve your knowledge and contributions:
The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
Good to Great by Jim Collins
The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman
The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Pat Lencioni
Linchpin by Seth Godin
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
Ask: Am I putting these new skills to use?
Practicing means learning a new skill and refining it in real time. Whatever you’re doing isn’t going to look perfect for a while; and that’s the point. Expect things to feel awkward and uncomfortable for a season, but stay in it and you’ll improve.
Another important way to assessing your plan is to solicit feedback from your peer or boss.
When you humble yourself to continuously learn and strive to contribute above and beyond expectations, your value as a leader or team member will be indispensable.