What are you doing to stay current and relevant as a leader? This is a question that so many leaders ask me, no matter what company I’m serving. How do we pay attention to our own educational development when, as leaders, we spend so much time working on everyone else? It doesn’t matter whether I’m working with the CEO of a major media company or an HR director of a pharmaceutical com. We’re constantly looking for ways that our leaders can stay current and relevant.

 

I think if we’re paying attention personally, it means we need to also look at our own educational developing and being committed to developing our skills, which means we have to schedule time and we have to pay attention.

 

Attend industry conferences.

 

What does your company offer that you might be able to attend? As a professional keynote speaker, there’s an organization called the National Speakers Association. I know. Go figure. A whole room of speakers. It’s crazy. But it’s so much fun. There seems to be an association for everything on this planet. What is your association? I even spoke for the American Society of Association Executives. That’s right. There’s an association just for people who run associations. I would encourage you to look at your industry conferences and see what would be a great way for you to attend, and allocate your time for the sessions to network and expand your horizons.

 

 

Schedule time for continuing credit.

 

For many of the clients that I work with, whether they’re accountants, lawyers, HR professionals, they need to do a certain number of CUs or continuing credits so that they can get their educational level higher. What’s your commitment to yourself? Are you an entrepreneur and you want to just set yourself a target of how many things you want to learn? Being able to schedule time and being deliberate in where you focus your time an attention will help you with your education and also help you stay relevant as a leader.

 

 

Listen and Learn.

 

Listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Tune into TEDx talks. Listen to your mentor. Seek training programs. Either way, just listen. Pay attention and listen. If you’re a person who commutes regularly, maybe podcasts would be great for you. Short on time? It only takes small increments of time to watch a Ted Talks. If you love to listen to books, maybe that’s a great way for you to increase your education. We have made available Attention Pays on a Kindle, and some people want the audio version. I’m working on that. But what are some ways that you can really listen to the advice of others and have that part of your regular development plan?

 

When I was in corporate, I made sure I attended every program that I was allowed to attend. I made sure I connected with my version of the internal university and scheduled myself on courses with my boss’ approval.

 

When I decided to do my MBA, I did that part-time while I was working full-time. In my own profession now, I make a point every week of reading new books, exposing myself to new podcasts, and listening to new Ted Talks. I love being able to participate in social media conversations around development, and it’s kind of the profession that I’ve chosen.

 

How are you staying current and relevant? How are you paying attention to your own development and committing your time, your attention, and your energy?

 

Do you know someone seeking to develop their skills and learn more professionally or personally? Share this video with them, or better yet, this post!

 

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Attention Pays, do it now! You’ll learn great strategies for you and your team to pay attention to what matters most at work and in life. At NeenJames.com, you will find hundreds of articles you can download for free, and you can also subscribe to our newsletter there. I believe that when you pay attention, attention pays.

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