Developing You

One reason you might take a training program is because you don’t know something necessary to accomplishing your goals. That’s a valid objective—a good program can give you new knowledge. And if you don’t know much about the topic, that benefit will loom very large.

Is it possible to get value from a program in which you already knew the key points, but weren’t applying them? Yes. There’s value in someone activating your latent knowledge.

So acquiring knowledge is not the only reason to invest in professional training and education. There’s a saying that “Knowledge is power.” But knowledge, if unapplied, isn’t power. It’s just knowledge. A workshop or other form of training program can help you organize what you know and apply it in a program of action. A good program can also equip you with the tools you need for easier and stronger implementation.

For example, I recently participated in Robert Middleton’s “Getting More Done” program. I get a lot done, and know a decent amount about time management. I don’t think I learned any new concepts in the program. Yet I received tremendous value from participating. The program provided better ways of:

  • Picking the right things to say Yes to, and which ones should be No or Not Yet
  • Translating my priorities into time slots on my calendar

I invest the time and money to take a program when I’m determined not to stay at my current level of performance, and when I see the chance to get these building blocks for better results:

  • The program will put me into action—more action, faster, than what I would do on my own
  • Perspective on what not to do, what to do, and how to
  • The feeling of connection and camaraderie with a peer group

How about you—what factors make you decide to invest in yourself?

The Difference
When you engage in the right professional development, you can expect that your future results might look something like the green line here:

With & Without a Program

Okay, there are no numbers on this chart. So make an assumption about the extra money per assignment, per quarter or per year that you’ll get as a result of taking a program that increases your effectiveness. Be as ambitious or as conservative as you want in guesstimating what your improved results could be worth.

Since you can’t be 100% sure that you’ll achieve that extra money, put a risk factor on it. Even if you think that—for whatever reason—there’s only a 10% probability that the program will help you get the higher income, ask yourself if you’ll achieve your program fee back if the program helps you achieve even that additional amount on only one client engagement ever. If you see a very high probability of at least earning your program tuition back, you’ll have covered your cost. Now run the payback if you pick up an extra $5,000 here and there… or $10,000, or $20,000.

This is what investment professionals call an asymmetrical return vs. risk profile. If the upside is very, very high, and you see little risk of not making at least the program tuition back, you might decide that investing in yourself is a pretty good bet.

Where can you envision that an investment in your professional development could pay off big?

Bob Sherlock

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