Thursday, 26 August 2010

Home Improvement

Frustrated at the lack of promotion opportunities? Worried about how cut backs might limit the chance to develop in your role? Just generally fed up or stuck in something of a career standstill?

Everyone experiences this from time to time but there is something positive to take from the fact that you feel this way in the first instance – you are looking for the means with which to grow in what you do and how best to facilitate your learning.

So here are some suggestions of ways you might be able to find learning and development opportunities both in and out of the workplace:

1) Become an active part of your professional community

Its like Facebook. But if Facebook gave you homework and other stuff
The immediate thought when reading that might be to view this from a position of networking opportunities. There is no problem with this, however do not underestimate the fresh perspectives meeting peers from across industries and sectors. Not finding a CIPD branch event that covers a subject in HR you are passionate about? Why not look or set up forums for advice on places like their website or Linkedin – what, you did not think that social media was created just to throw sheep at people on Facebook?

Involvement in acts of citizenship outside of the standard needs of your job shows that you are passionate about what you do and are looking for new solutions to help improve it. Also you never know what new ideas or perspectives which might present themselves to you.

2) Examine where a service or policy can be improved upon

Everyone is looking for ways to achieve more with less. Is there an area in which you think your employer could either become more efficient or better at servicing their client groups? An easy way to start such an analysis would be to look at areas you are passionate about – for example, want to get more involved with L & D? Could you show that perhaps there is a need to improve upon the induction and probation training for managers? Using an argument of the need to improve rates of retention, lower costs in recruitment, people being more quickly integrated and hitting the ground running and so on, could you suggest this might be something that the organisation considers?

If you are able to show means of providing quantative improvements you have the start of a case to promote you being the one who gets to work on this – and suddenly you have exposure to a project in the area you are interested in/have a skills gap for.

Even if you are not, at the least is shows you are concerned with improving service and engaged with the need of the business.

3) Be a go-giver, not a go-getter

Napoleon Hill coined this phrase in his book ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and I think it still has relevance today.

Plenty of people are enthusiastic with excellent skills and in return expect certain rewards. This is fine but if you do not think your rewards are matching what your expectancies or skill set you need to take a look at yourself in the first instance.

Steve's perception of the results of his appraisal were different of those of his line manager

It is easy to point the finger at a third party and the way they have mistreated you or how you have been dealt a bad hand. However, and I hope this is a clear underlying them to the first two points you have read, although circumstances and your environment are out of your control (and at times turbulent) what changes you implement by yourself for yourself are your choices to manage.

What is the alternative? Well maybe you could complain and do nothing – but as David Schwartz once put it “no one promotes a problem”. If you feel dissatisfied with your circumstances keep that in mind and see if you can find solutions to try and beat the malaise.

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