Forget the Resolutions, Let’s Talk About Professional Growth
Content was originally published on Inc.com on January 17, 2019.
I really enjoy creating action plans. My inner-nerd gets really excited over the possibilities of a new year or quarter. There are so many opportunities for growth and development, and I love laying it all out on paper and then working towards those goals over the coming quarter. As a business coach, I not only get to do that for my own company, Maui Mastermind, but I also have had the opportunity to help thousands of others plan out their action plans.
Once we have our action plans in place, there is one more task that I like to do with my executive team at the beginning of each year. We sit down together and ask these three questions.
1. What are your top strengths (in respect to the work you do in the company)?
Throughout the course of the year, we take the time to celebrate company victories. New accounts, streamlined processes and procedures, creative marketing ideas…etc. There are many ways to be successful. This question allows the team member to be introspective and really look at what they are best at and what they enjoy doing. Perhaps you have a sales representative who is able to close new accounts faster than her counterparts? Or perhaps you have someone on your operations team who is excellent at managing others? Or a marketing director with a flair for developing mutually beneficial partnerships? This question allows us to sit down together and talk about where the team member shines, and allows us to create a plan to further develop those talents.
2. What were your biggest growth areas in 2020 professionally?
After we talk about what the team member excels at, we take a few steps back and look at the past years progress. Was there an area that the team member struggled with in the beginning of the year? Was there a task or skill that required a lot of coaching to master? Now is the time to talk about it, and highlight the things that they struggled with in the beginning but have grown substantially in over the past 12 months. One example would be a manager who struggled with hiring new talent in early 2019, but by the end of the year they had successfully hired a few team members and feel more confident in the process moving forward.
3. What do you want to focus on in terms of growing your abilities in 2020 that would have the biggest medium and long term impact on the value you create for the business?
Last but not least, we sit down and talk about what we want to focus on in terms of professional growth in the coming year. Tip: As a manager, you have your own preconceived ideas of where you want a team member to focus their energy on. But be mindful of what your team member has to say, and let them share their prepared list first to see if they have something that you missed. They might surprise you!
Here is to a year full of growth, prosperity and success.