To Develop or not to Develop…
That is the question many of you have, especially if you have been in a role for a long time. We are currently working on professional development opportunities for the departments, which started off with Operations.
We have seen a slow adoption and a little pushback; “why do I need to take these classes, this training, this certification when I have been doing XXX for several years”. There are a lot of reasons to continue to hone your skills, even within an area you think you already know.
From a professional standpoint, it expands your knowledge base. You expose yourself to new ideas and increase expertise in your field. It also boosts your confidence in the work you are doing and adds credibility when assisting people new to your field or working with those not in your field.
One of the biggest benefits professionally, is opening the door to future career changes. The number of opportunities that continue to become available here with Lone Star, you open that door by having a deeper skill set. In previous posts I mentioned the convergence of physical security, nurse call with IT as well as the network, either wired or wireless, and now IoT and AI.
Guess what? There are also some fantastic health benefits to learning new skills as well. Ever time you learn a new skill, your change the connections in your brain, called neuroplasticity. Big whoop, right? The more you do that, the faster you learn new skills which forms more pathways, which allows signals to travel faster, and it keeps repeating itself.
Another cool thing? You start making connection between skill areas. Prior knowledge helps you relate new information to things you already know, which also helps you learn more new skills. Why does that matter? What we know is things don’t stay the same, especially in our industry, so keeping your mind sharp makes it easier to adapt to change. The BIGGEST health benefit is that you could stave of dementia, because you are always learning and building new neural pathways.
I read a lot of books, articles, watch webinars, leadership training, and learn everything I can. I research technology we use, technology that’s coming, watch what’s happening with adjacent fields, and experts in our fields and adjacent fields. Why would I feel that’s necessary? I always want to know more, stretch my understanding of leadership, technology, history, and the world. I consider those building blocks and making sure I am as prepared as I can be as a leader and employee.
When I attend leadership conferences or industry conferences, I am very intentional in picking up nuggets of information that can help sharpen an area of leadership, ways of thinking about our business. When you keep yourself in a learning mindset your approach to those events, training, or webinars is different.
I encourage you to think about professional development as way to expand your mind, knowledge base and not as a burden or something you must do. Think of it as an investment in yourself, your family, your health.
What are some ways you enjoy learning new skills? How do you learn the best? What are some suggestions you have for us as we continue to build this process out?
- Kevin Henderson, Chief Operating Officer, Arkansas