Personal Evolution and Self – Development

To be a major player in the lives of others, we have to continually reinvent ourselves to meet their dynamic needs. This evolutionary process will enable us to exist among, to paraphrase Charles Darwin, only the strong who will manage to thrive.  

In the past, personal development was often external. Your manager told you what you needed to improve and if you were lucky, showed you how to do it. This tactic had some merit, but you may not have agreed with their observations or committed to their plans to improve your performance. The present and the future require personal development to be internal. You have to accept your strengths, weaknesses and development level and devise a plan to improve. Your manager will serve as a consultant and a resource. This approach will enable you to establish realistic goals and programs that are relevant to your personal needs. You cannot be a spectator in your own development.  

Ironically, you must share your weaknesses with others and accept their assistance in helping you improve. We are often reluctant to share our faults if they were not discovered by our manager. In the past, we would not reveal our shortcomings, but that has to change. The future has a bright light that will reveal our needs whether we want to disclose them or not. Remaining stationary in our skill level may have disastrous results. Our customers, the competition, the industry we work in and our professional and personal relationships are not standing still. We must adapt and change if we want to experience growth and progress.

We are responsible for our own learning. Organizations have shifted this massive burden onto the shoulders of their employees. Many will provide access to resources to assist in personalizing employee career and development plans. This requires a heightened state of self awareness and knowledge of your capabilities and blind spots. This conjures up images of evolving, changing and calibrating performance to keep pace with the rapids of change.  We could adapt our processes to match the changing face of industry. 

Profitability and Costs 

We have to look upon ourselves as entrepreneurs in every endeavor. We therefore, become involved in facets of the business that we paid little attention to in the past. Such items as profitability and the cost of resources become important to us. The decision must be made to resist the temptation of calling on a customer because they are friendly and available. Walking away from a call or a client who doesn’t have much potential is a wise use of time and effort. Managing your resources will have a positive impact on results and profits. 

Future Demands 

We often talk of developing new skills, but there isn’t a consensus on which skills are required. The skills needed today may be different tomorrow. We speak of developing a business orientation, social media expertise, cultural competence, analytical skills, relationship building, presentation skills, teamwork, strategic planning, financial and business acumen. All may be necessary today in varying degrees. However, we must determine how much of each is needed tomorrow and devise ways to get them. It is also important to plan for additional skill request that are uncovered during our journey.  Customers will want us to keep track of their skills needs so that we can advise them as a part of our excellent customer service. It is sensible to become indispensable and this will help distinguish us from our peers. 

We must be perched on the precipice of change, responding to current reality and anticipate the environment of the future. We can accomplish this by doing the following; 

  • Speaking with thought leaders
  • Reading the works of futurists and industry gurus
  • Learn to foretell and “fore-sell” the future to influence its outcome

Wayne Gretsky, the great Hall of Fame hockey players spoke about the need to anticipate by saying, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” You must conquer the present and the future in order to be successful over a long period of time.

Personal evolution is a prerequisite for developing peak performance. Self development orientation is a mindset to accelerate the process. Continuous improvement is a necessary component. If you were to look in the mirror, would the reflection represent someone who is different today than they were yesterday? I’m not speaking of the aging process, but the reflection the customer wants to see? Are you someone fashioned to meet their needs? Do you have an image that’s beneficial to them and is always changing to match the times.

Copyright © 2011 Orlando Ceaser

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