Yep, I’ve stated my premise in the title. Your development is yours. It doesn’t belong to your boss or your organization, it belongs to you. I’ve stated my premise, now let me state my case.
Who Benefits Most?
When we think about you becoming more effective at work, whether that is technical skills, interpersonal skills or leadership skills, the organization definitely benefits from that, and that is why in many cases, organizations offer development opportunities, training and more – they benefit when you improve.
Your team or peers benefit too – they have a more capable co-worker, a more effective supervisor, and they reap a more effective team and more enjoyable working environment. While sometimes team members or peers will suggest a learning opportunity to you, we don’t expect them to pay for it or have ultimate responsibility for it.
And, of course you benefit. You get the chance to be more efficient and effective. You become more productive and promotable, and you gain confidence, and over time, hopefully a larger paycheck. And beyond that, those skills that you have learned, which in many cases help you outside of work as well as during working hours, are yours forever. When/if you leave the organization, you get to take those skills with you forever.
So who benefits the most?
And are you investing in yourself, based on those benefits?
But Kevin . . .
At this moment, based on the type of organization you are a part of, you are likely thinking one of the following things . . .
If you are a part of an organization that doesn’t invest in their people, you are likely lamenting the fact that they don’t, hoping that they will change their mind and invest in you, waiting for that change to occur, and excusing yourself because, “my organization doesn’t invest in their people.”
If you are a part of an organization that does invest in the development of their folks, you are happier, and maybe haven’t thought too much about this whole issue. You may also be spoiled by the investment, and keep waiting and hoping for more (which might or might not come.)
Either way, you are likely expecting (realistically or not) for your organization to provide you with learning and development opportunities.
If they only would. But they don’t.
I wish it would happen, but it doesn’t.
If they would provide me some training, I would get better, but they don’t (or don’t do it soon enough).
If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, it would be Christmas all year long.
Stop waiting for, hoping for, or even expecting your organization to provide all of your development opportunities.
You are the one who is going to benefit the most, right? So it is time to take ownership and make your own investments in yourself.
How Learning Really Happens
Even if you work for an awesome organization that provides tremendous support and resources for your development, you still can’t rely solely on them if you want to progress, grow and learn as much as possible.
Because not all of the learning we gain comes from sources that an organization can control or even provide.
In the 1980’s, research sponsored by the Center for Creative Leadership, a not-for-profit educational institution in Greensboro, N.C., found that managers learn what is needed to succeed in a ratio now known as the 70:20:10 model. This means that individuals gain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from formal educational events.
The researchers explained it this way:
“Lessons learned by successful and effective managers are roughly:
70% from tough jobs
20% from people (mostly the boss)
10% from courses and reading”
You likely agree in principle with this idea – that much of what we learn comes outside of a workshop or book, and even from coaching – but from our job experience?
And who owns that experience? (again, you do).
Further, I would contend that while all of us have job experiences that we could learn from, most people squander many of those learning opportunities by not reflecting and thinking about them, by not actively looking for lessons, and by not being flexible enough (or willing enough) to make the changes implied by the lessons.
So, even if your organization is doing a great job with 30% of your learning opportunities, you still own 70%.
Can you grow with the 30%? Sure. But not as fast as if you take advantage of all your opportunities to learn.
So we’ve come full circle. I proposed that your development belongs to you and then I told you why.
You benefit the most, it should mean the most to you, and you have control of it anyway. You can wait for an organization to help, but it might be a longer wait than you prefer. Most of how we learn comes from ourselves and our experiences anyway, so when we take ownership, we not only have control of the direction and scope of our development, but the speed of it as well.
This is a classic everyone wins scenario. As you take greater responsibility and ownership of your learning, you develop faster which helps you, your team and your organization.
It is time you take greater ownership.
After all, you and your future are worth it.