“We not even talkin’ bout the game, the actual game, when it matters. We talkin’ bout practice.” – Allen Iverson
Retired NBA basketball player Allen Iverson made this comment regarding why he missed practice. Some would argue that practice or professional development training is not a useful activity. Why? Who can afford time away from work? How many times have you implemented a new process learned from training? However, a majority of us are in agreement that professional development is needed in order to stay competitive.
Professional development is key to anyone’s success. Professionals such as lawyers, CPAs, and teachers participate in professional development because of their licensing requirements. Other sectors are not so keen on professional development however. As professionals, we schedule and pay for conferences, but cancel because we have too much work or we have to attend another meeting. If we want to sustain our businesses, we need to develop ourselves, so we can stay on the cutting edge.
I recently attended one of the best conferences. The ‘Social Media Dames UNconference’ brought together eighteen speakers who had five minutes to share one gem with the attendees. The goal is to encourage women to use social media strategically. Amy Stark and Erin Albert are the masterminds behind the conference. I hoped to learn how to use social media effectively, as well as content development. I wasn’t disappointed.
The time away from work was worth it. The tips provided were practical and easy to implement, and I was able to connect with like-minded women who also feel overwhelmed with managing social media. I did not feel alone, and I was pleasantly surprised when the first speaker talked about podcasting. One of my goals for next year is to have a podcast! Mostly importantly, the ‘Social Dames UNconference’ was motivation to keep pressing on towards my goals. Talking with individuals with whom I shared common interests, and hearing their stories was very uplifting.
Do not discountenance workshops and conferences, and don’t underestimate how much information you can get from a YouTube video. Everyone, from the facility staff to senior management, needs to sharpen the saw.
A learning culture committed to professional development results in:
- More confident staff members who do their job effectively.
- Attracting driven and career-focused candidates.
- Competitive advantage, allowing you stay updated on industry trends.
Professional development links to the financial health of an organization. The practice of not budgeting or cutting professional development from the budget is costly. According to the 2018 Training Industry Report, training expenditures went down to $29.6 billion from $44.5 billion in 2017. Allocating professional development dollars attract and retain employees, which in turn boost the bottom line. Investing in learning opportunities is beneficial for the whole organization. In 2020 make a goal to attend at least two professional development events, then take it a step further and implement your learning.
Here’s a list of gems from the ‘Social Dames UNconference:
- You don’t have to use every social media outlet – find your community
- You don’t have to publish all the time – be selective on content
- Use social media to differentiate from competitors
- Be aware of cybersecurity. You can go to in.gov/cybersecurity
- You have to be social with people, not just on social media
- Write a response to articles, don’t just like them
Linda Diakite Karressy is the president of Insight Financial Group LLC in Indianapolis.