Being the boss, being self-employed, having a portfolio career, volunteering – these are all things I see Pluralists doing but all are environments where it can be hard to assess the gaps in your career development or to access the training you need.
We don’t necessarily need to complete a particular number of hours of CPD unless we are members of a professional body - indeed those of us who are members of such bodies will be aware that much of that training is quite often wide of the mark for our own requirements – but we most certainly need to consider whether we are entirely up-to-date with current thinking and expectations.
Sometimes professional development is about understanding regulatory or practical changes within one’s industry. Other times it is more about the direction of travel or an exploration of potential changes. Despite years within your industry, you should never assume there is no room for further, basic, skills-based learning. Finally there is the people-skills training which can be so easy to dismiss but which is vital in a fast-moving world.
Identifying the gaps in your knowledge Is not impossible but it does require a good degree of self-awareness. The first step is to notice whenever people are talking about something you don’t quite get or someone you have never heard of. It only takes a minute to look online for more information and then decide whether you ought to explore further but the important thing is to check; you don’t want to be endlessly playing catch-up or having to bluff during conversations with colleagues.
Another trick is to catch yourself when thinking negatively about some new issue (be that professional, political or social). Why are you feeling negative? Is it a gut reaction? Is it habit? Is it intellectual laziness? It’s very easy to have an instant response, much harder to accept that your response might be groundless, ignorant or just plain wrong.
In a world where battle-lines are drawn (Brexit), the parameters keep changing (gender identity), or the future is uncertain (leadership elections), it is more important than ever to be on top of the issues which affect you, your colleagues and your customers. Having great gut instincts only takes us so far …. really understanding the issues gives us the scope to be analytical, forward-looking and successful.