Personal development is the ultimate source of competitive advantage. When you stop learning you run the risk of your business becoming stagnant. Growing a business is one continuous learning journey and every new experience presents itself as an opportunity to acquire more knowledge. Entrepreneurial high achievers I have worked with are lifetime learners combining both formal and informal means of absorbing new information. What is your strategy for learning? Do you have a personal development plan? Are you open to the advice and guidance of the wisdom of others?
The growth of a business takes many twists and turns and growth comes in chapters, each one presenting its own challenges – you need to be prepared.
Openly speak to mentors, your peer group and trusted colleagues and ask them how they think you can improve. What could you do better? Rate yourself out of 10 in each of these areas:
I have clear business and personal goals, they are pursued with a passion
I am resilient and deal effectively with setbacks when they arise
I take ownership for the decisions I make but I listen carefully to the views of people I trust
I am motivated and just get on with it – success is down to me
I am a strong and effective leader (myself and others)
I work well with others and take a collaborative approach to business
I am innovative and take a creative approach to business
I am a respected individual within my market
I am an effective connector and communicator
I always aim to excel at what I do
By answering these questions honestly you start to build a picture of where your self-development needs to focus. Drill down into the specifics of each of your answer and define very clearly what things you are going to change. Identify the resources that you will need to move you on. Explore courses, new reading material, self-study or one to one coaching to address the shortfalls. Everyone has a preferred learning style, find one that suits you. However there is lots of wisdom in the Confucius philosophy of:
- I hear and I forget
- I see and I remember
- I do and I understand
The minute you think you know it all – complacency sets in and you could quite well be entering into dangerous territory.
You will not advance or achieve your business goals if you don’t commit to constantly learning.
Authenticity is such a powerful word – just being who we are, not pretending to be something or someone else and just doing what we promise to do.
No one likes a fake as this can deliver very disappointing outcomes. Personally I often question whether I go around with the word MUG stamped across my forehead, why?……. because I always believe what people tell me. If someone says they are going to do something, then why should I believe differently. We can all forget from time to time to do something we promised, I think that’s excusable, to a certain extent. However, every now and then we are let down, worst case ripped off, or left with a feeling of what happened there.
Generally speaking I believe that most people are authentic, thinking otherwise can lead to cynicism, judging others too early and intolerance.
It’s a massive area and so much has been written on the subject, thinkers, philosophers, historians and scientists. As with most things I like to keep things simple – being comfortable in your own skin and who you are is a great place to be – for many it takes a long time to get there. When we align, what we believe with what we do and who we are, then behave in that way – the resultant effect is authenticity.
People buy brands and as the research tells us people also buy people – 70 % of a persons decision to buy is based on personal chemistry. You are as good as your last job or promise. Many corporates spend so much money on building their brands but at the end of the day it’s who turns up in front of the customer that represents what the organisation stands for.
I urge individuals to think about their personal brand in terms of three dimensions:
1.Functional Mastery – what you know and what you stand for. When you know your stuff people respect, trust and view you as a highly credible person – dont wing it! Do people view you as an expert in your field?
2.Social Mastery – an ability to have a sensible and added value conversation with others is an art we must all learn to get a grip of. Communicating our messages concisely and the ability to get along with others is a really important skill we must all acquire. Are you are an effective connector and communicator?
3. Spiritual Mastery – do you deliver on your promises and do the things you will say that you will do? This is not about religion it’s about doing the right things for the right reasons and living the values of integrity, respect and caring for others. Are you aware of the impact you have on others?
Get your personal brand sorted – we live in the global village and our reputation is often all that we have to trade on – guard it with your life!