Training Workers

Professional Vs Personal Development

Written by Chukwuma Asala for Gaebler Ventures

What is the difference between Professional and Personal Development? How do you simultaneously focus on both? Is that even possible?

Most organizations want to attract quality people. No one gets in business to be known for having a team that does not represent the value of their company well.

But if that is the case why do most companies struggle with this? How do you create a culture where people are respectful, kind, humble, hardworking, value-based and team-oriented? A famous fictional story about a CEO of a hotel chain answers this question very simply. His franchise was well-known for its incredible customer service and friendly staff. When asked how he was able to create such an atmosphere in all his hotel chains he simply responded by saying: "we don't teach people to be friendly, we just hire friendly people". That is one solution to this challenge. The other is to put a priority on personal development.

Most organizations do not understand that there is a big difference between professional development and personal development. Professional development will help develop the skills necessary for you to carry out your job functions effectively but they will not contribute much to all the intangible skills that you need to compete in the modern work force. Many jobs today did not exist ten years ago, and ten years from now there will be many different jobs that exist which are not even being thought of today. Many companies today do not care for specialized degrees as much as they do individuals who can be an asset to their company or organization. They are more interested in your ability to think, be adaptable, cross-functional, and lead. They can teach you all the other skills needed for your job. The problem is you have to focus on your personal development on your own time.

A couple of important things you need to do in order to make sure you are personally growing yourself and your workers while continuing to sharpen the saw with regards to the job functions are:

  • Read
  • Nothing will help you in your personal development and the development of your workers more than forming this habit. If you walk into an office in upper management you will always find a plethora of books. There's a reason for that and a reason why they are in upper management. And trust me; the books have nothing to do with work and everything to do with the intangibles of leadership which help in managing people.
  • Attend Conferences
  • Not only does this help in building camaraderie within your team but it also exposes to them to people in your industry that are ahead of both you and them. They get to study and learn from people who are further down the career track than themselves and hopefully glean some wisdom from them. If it is within the budget for your company, I highly recommend it.

Chukwuma Asala is an international student from Nigeria who is studying to earn an MBA from the State University of New York in Albany. He has analyzed more than 20 industry case studies throughout his education thus far, and hopes to bring some of his business knowledge to

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