Why Personal and Professional Development Matters
Ever heard the expression, the harder I work the luckier I get?
Luck has nothing to do with personal and professional success. It has everything to do with personal and professional development and why it matters.
We are taught, go to school, get a good education, land a great job, and live happily ever after. This sounds good in theory, for most people, they don’t reach the level of success they aspire to. There’s a good reason for this. And that is a lack of focus on personal or professional development.
What is Personal Development?
Personal development is a process of improving your skills and developing untapped hidden abilities to enhance the areas in your life you choose to focus on.
Simplistically, personal development sells hope for the future.
Formal education gives you the capability to make a living. Personal development gives you the ability to live a life by design, a life with purpose. Personal development is also referred to as self-improvement, self-education, or even self-help.
When embarking on a personal development journey, it does not mean there is something wrong with you. Quite the contrary, it means you have a desire to improve aspects of your life to achieve higher levels of satisfaction, and happiness. Personal development is known to increase happiness, health, and success.
What is Professional Development?
When you enter the workforce you have a certain range of skills. For instance, you may have a college degree but college doesn’t always prepare you for what really happens in the work environment. Therefore good companies, invest in the ongoing upskilling of their employees through professional development programs.
Employers have a vested interest in the ongoing development of skill sets that will keep employees engaged and ultimately keep the company profitable.
Personal and Professional Development (PPD) is a term commonly used in larger companies. Some companies employ Learning and Development (L&D) specialists who focus on empowering employees to learn specific skills to drive performance.
Learning & Development Steps
Whether it’s a smaller to medium business or a larger company, the first step is to conduct a skills gap analysis. The outcome of this would be to identify skills shortages, areas for improvement, and opportunities. All of these of course are related to the strategic objectives of the organization. This is where professional development fits into the picture. Business leaders can then identify the skills they need to develop in their people.
Secondly, look at the different options that would make up the learning and development experience. The L&D mix might include, external training, hands-on training, online training, executive coaching, and mentorships as an example.
Thirdly they would put together a list of providers that have the capabilities and technologies to deliver the L&D strategy to individuals or in groups.
Next comes the execution and implementation of the professional development strategy and finally review and measurement.
When companies invest in their employees, they feel more valued. When employees feel valued they become more engaged. When they feel valued and engaged, they make an emotional commitment to the organization they work for. It gives them the motivation to contribute to the success of their employer and work hard to achieve company goals.
Why Professional Development is Important to Employers
Take a line through your career at the moment. Do you feel undervalued or underemployed? If so, chances are you are already looking for another job. While in this “job” hunting phase, it’s likely you aren’t fully engaged in your current role.
More than 33% of workers are actively searching for a new job.
In a tight job market, it’s harder to keep employees than it is to recruit new ones. For 81% of employers, a lack of employee retention is a costly problem. Having to train new hires costs roughly 20% of an employee’s salary to replace them. It causes loss of productivity, delays in service, plus hidden costs of advertising, recruiting, and training new employees.
Therefore the major benefit for employers to prioritize the professional development of their employees is it helps increase employee retention rates.
The Benefits of Professional Development For Employees
When employers invest in the training, learning, and professional development of their employees, it’s known to dramatically reduce stress levels. As employees grow their skill sets, they naturally develop more confidence. With confidence, they become more productive which in turn reduces stress levels and avoids burnout.
Not all professional development programs focus on enhancing technical skills. Many of these programs focus on the development of soft skills. Soft skills like communication, leadership, and management skills are critical to the success of an organization. It’s not good enough to promote a person into a management role and say – “You are a manager now, go manage.” This approach sets the employee up for failure.
New managers need executive coaches or mentors. You can’t just throw them to the wolves and expect them to succeed. They need to develop their soft skills, people skills, leadership, and communication skills. They also need sales skills to learn how to negotiate and sell their ideas.
Strategic Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
The higher up in an organization you go, the less you use your technical skills and the more you need to use your strategic thinking, problem-solving, and leadership skills. These are skills that can be learned through personal and professional development programs.
The Benefits of Personal Development
Not all companies invest in their people which leaves a percentage of the workforce in a personal and professional development void. If they can’t get the employers to invest in their personal growth, often employees turn to a life coach, business coach, or executive coach to grow themselves as an individual.
Improves Your Career Prospects
Personal development expands your marketability through continuous learning. If you refuse to grow, someone will take over your job, career, life, or business who does invest in themselves. By investing in yourself, you naturally put yourself on the front line for a promotion or a new job. Employees love to hire those with the right attitude.
Changes Your Perspective
If what you are currently doing is not working for you, it’s time to make a change. Remember, if you continue to do what you have always done, you get what you’ve always got. It’s by change, not by chance that you will achieve your goals.
For instance, if you want a happier and healthier relationship, you need to identify what it is that leads to a relationship breaking down. If you want to earn more money or get a promotion at work, consider what additional skills you need to develop to be competitive.
If you want to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, then this naturally requires a change in diet and exercise levels. Changing poor habits is hard to do on your own. With the right support, you can succeed.
Makes You Stronger
Changing your perspective and changing your habits starts with self-awareness.
We all have blind spots that others can see in us but we can’t see in ourselves. You cannot change something you’re not aware of and that where coaching comes into the mix. A coach is able to see things in you, which could be a barrier to success. They can also see your hidden talents and abilities.
“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu
When you understand yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses, you have a guide on the areas of your life you can expand and nurture.
Improves your Focus
It’s easy to develop wish-washy goals like; I want to be rich. I want a new job. I want to be happy. Goals like this don’t work. Personal and professional development gives you a purpose and improves your focus. With increased focus, you naturally prioritize tasks and go about your day and week with greater effectiveness.
Improved focus means you aren’t procrastinating or get distracted by the unimportant things in life.
Forces You Outside Your Comfort Zone
We all live in one of four zones; the comfort zone, the fear zone, the learning zone, and the growth zone. Without a purpose, or vision for the future, it’s easy to procrastinate and live in the comfort zone. You already know nothing grows there. What prevents you from leaving your comfort zone is the fear zone. I get it. That’s why most people need help to overcome their fears. Once you land in the learning zone, everything about your life is elevated to another level. Before long, you find yourself in the growth zone.
By investing in your personal and professional development, keeps you out of the comfort zone where you grow your confidence levels and beyond.
Does Personal and Professional Development Work?
A recent study conducted by the International Coach Federation (ICF) reveals the following statistics about those clients who took personal and professional development seriously enough to employ a coach:
- 62.4% got better at goal-setting…
- 60.5% learned to lead a more balanced life…
- 57.1% experienced lower stress levels
- 52.4% became more self-confident.
- 43.3% improved the quality of their life.
Professional Development for Business Owners
Personal and Professional Development is not just for employees, they are critically important for small to medium business owners. Most small business owners work in their business and not on their business. That’s often because they haven’t identified their strengths and weakness, or learned how to delegate.
One of the quickest ways for business owners to grow is to hire a business coach.
According to Forbes, they report that the success of business coaching services is overwhelming. More than 85% of survey respondents reported the financial benefits far exceeded the investment they made in hiring a business coach. More than 70% reported a marked improvement in work performance and communication skills.
One of the most powerful “soft skills” you can develop as a business leader is self-awareness. After working with a business coach additional studies demonstrate business coaching helps you set and achieve SMART goals. As a result, you develop the confidence to achieve the levels of success you never thought possible.
7 Important Aspects of Personal and Professional Development
Okay, by now you get the picture. Personal and professional development is critical to staying on top of your personal relationships, your career, and your happiness. But where to start? Here are a few aspects of personal and professional development you could consider.
What you will find is most personal development programs will fall into one of five areas.
- Spiritual Growth
- Mental Health
- Physical Health
- Emotional Health
- Social Growth
Professional Development covers a wide range of skills including some of the following.
- Life Management – bringing work-life balance into your life
- Building self-esteem and confidence levels
- Enhanced Communication – understanding yourself and others
- Sales Training – including communication and negotiating skills
- Developing Leadership and Management Skills
- Dealing With Difficult Behavior
- The Art of Effective Delegation
- Business Planning and Reporting
- Managing Employee Performance
- Attracting and Retaining Great employees
If you don’t know where to start, book a FREE Discovery Call and explore the options available to you. If an informal chat to get to understand your personal and professional goals.
Learning to lead, learning to run a business is no easy task. It takes time and education to transform yourself into the leader you want to be. It all starts with learning how to hire and manage people. It is your communication and people skills that separate the wheat from the chaff.
To find out how you stack up as a leader. You never know what others see that you don’t see yourself. This kind of feedback is not always negative, perhaps you have great attributes and talents you weren’t even aware of.
Learn to Thrive Not Just Survive
80% of business owners do little more than just survive. They often make less than in full paid employment. They can’t take sick leave, they usually work longer hours and take less vacations.
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