Thursday, May 29th, 2008
You’re leisurely jogging toward the finish line in your khakis and button down shirt when you look back and all the other managers from your various competitors are on your heels. You thought you were leading the pack by a good distance, but they caught up. You look forward again and the finish line got pushed so far away that you can’t even see it. 12 swear words pop into your head, you ease up and everyone passes you by.
This attitude has struck down the greatest companies because they stop pushing for innovative ways to separate themselves from the pack. The best way managers can help a company flourish is by dedicating themselves to professional growth. We all need to keep moving or we become a bucket infested with mosquitoes, attacking others to stay alive. The only way to avoid the blood suckers is to keep moving.
Complacency will wreck any company, especially one that relies on the same tactics that they used last year and the year before that. If marketing companies kept putting out the same ads then the audience would learn to tune them out. If managers keep using the same techniques their voices will fall on deaf ears. That’s where continual learning fits in. Whether it be classes, conferences, meetings, or consulting companies, there are ways for a manager and his employees to learn new tactics that rock the world of their customers. It’s the only way to stay alive in this hyper competitive working world.
Chris Bailey wrote Four Professional Growth Issues For Managers (And How To Address Them). My favorite line was:
If you are a leader, know that a key responsibility of leaders is to produce more leaders.
Managers should be creating people that can help a company grow. They should never fear that they are producing someone more capable than them. If that does happen then the manager should be happy. The company will only prosper if it beats out the competition. The only way to do that is to have great people around you. Every master should be ready for the day that his pupil surpasses his abilities. If you taught them right, they will respect this relationship and treat the company and the manager with respect.
Chris wrote four reasons why managers don’t further their professional development as well at their staff’s. It’s a good read for any manager wanting to overcome obstacles that might be preventing them from growing.
My biggest obstacle to continual learning was convincing upper management to buy into the idea. They don’t want to spend money when they think they are doing fine without it. If they were having a bad quarter they sure as hell didn’t want to spend money on professional development. They wanted to cut back on every extra expense. The only thing I can say to this is to keep trying. Most sales people get rejected between 8 and 16 times before a client agrees to do business. Consider yourself a salesman and keep after your bosses. If you keep trying, they will start believing.
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