Do You Need to Bulk Up Your Business? Strength Matters
Maintaining a good level of physical fitness while improving our overall health is something we all aspire to achieve. But do we have a similar commitment when it comes to the health of our workplace? If you think of “bulking up” in the sense of working out, and the impact that has on us physically, we don’t gain overall muscle mass and strength through one workout, focusing on a single area. We work the entire body over a sustained period of time in order to achieve the results we want.
From my perspective, we need to take the same approach at work – “bulking up the business” through professional development with an intense, widespread and committed focus to strengthen core competencies across the entire organization.
HOW DO WE BEGIN?
It’s not difficult to get started. I recommend beginning with a simple gap analysis looking at where your company is today compared with where it needs to be in the future. The future could be next week, next year or next decade. In short, where are you now and where do you need to go?
Look at your mission statement and core values – and once you’ve ensured a solid alignment exists there, look closely at how your business, and everyone in it, get things done. Do they align? How do your employees feel about that alignment? Most importantly, understand what forms of professional development work best for solving certain types of issues. Do you want to increase employee morale, engagement and loyalty? Develop leaders for the future? Build your reputation in the community? Increase productivity? All of this and more can be achieved with the right type of professional development!
CONCERNED ABOUT COST?
Professional development doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking. I would argue instead of asking if you can afford it, you should ask if you can afford not to do it. Professional development takes many forms, and I suggest the most effective forms of professional development take place outside of the traditional classroom learning space that some immediately think of when they picture skill training and development. It’s not always a big dollar or time investment. Mentoring, problem-solving, process mapping and improvement, participating in an organizational task force or project team are great examples of professional development and continuing on-the-job education that one could argue should be a requirement in any industry.
MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
All professional development investments should be matched with clear operational measures to determine success. Think about what you’re developing, how enhancement in those skills will positively impact certain aspects of your organization’s inputs, outputs, etc., and compare results in key performance metrics before and after the development occurs. I think you’ll find your newly “bulked up” company will be on the road to a healthy future.