Dollars and Sense: New skills can be developed with work

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2006

If you have been in the business world for any length of time, you have undoubtedly attended some sort of training and development event.

Here&8217;s what usually happens: You attend a one or two day program and enjoy the experience. You pick up several really terrific personal growth ideas.

Then you return to your regular job. The manual from the training event is now sitting somewhere on your desk. You have every intention of getting to it.

The first day back at work is a blur as you catch up from the time you were away. Several more days pass. The manual continues to sit, unopened. You eventually move the manual to a bookcase, promising to get back to those great ideas.

Weeks then months go by and the terrific ideas you learned about eventually fade from memory. The training manual becomes a dust magnet.

This scenario or something similar has happened to the vast majority of us.

Our fast paced day-to-day lives consume us and if we fail to make developing our own skills a high priority, we will never achieve our full potential.

To combat this problem, consider using the Action Contract process:

uAt the end of the training event and before returning to work, write down the most meaningful thing that you learned; a specific skill or habit that you want to change, improve, or eliminate. This is your goal. Focus on only one developmental goal at a time.

uDecide exactly how you will know when you have achieved your goal.

uNext, identify at least four specific actions that you will take to start the process of developing the new skill, habit change, etc. Determine a completion date for each action.

uChoose an accountability partner. This is someone that will help coach you to achieve your goal.

uIdentify a date that you expect to have achieved your goal and then implement your Action Contract.

Developing ourselves requires a &8220;can do&8221; attitude and our most sincere commitment to improve and grow. Use the Action Contract to help you achieve your personal growth goals