For any business owner or manager who relies on a team of people to achieve results, one key to improving success year over year is to talk with your employees about their development. As 2016 draws to a close, many of us will be conducting performance conversations in the near future. That’s a great time to not only recap all the accomplishments of the past year, but to look ahead and discuss how to professionally develop and accomplish future goals and strategies.

Three Critical Steps to Personal Development:

  1. Plan for it. Think about where you want to be five years from now (i.e. role, company, achievements, etc.) and write your resume from that date’s perspective. Then fill in the steps critical to achieving that goal in the intervening years. What are the gaps in your skills and knowledge necessary to get there? In addition to identifying and leveraging your strengths, that’s what should populate your development plan, too.
  2. Schedule it. Life is messy. While you set off on what today may appear to be a clear path to achieve your goals, so many things – often outside of your control – will happen to divert you along the way. When it comes to your own growth and development, as well as that of your employees, set aside time for it on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly – whatever works for you). Put it on your calendar, just like any other mission-critical event.
  3. Partner up .  Ask any runner: on these cold, dark winter mornings, hitting snooze a few times is so much easier than lacing up your running shoes and hitting the streets. Having a partner who is waiting to run with you increases the likelihood that you’ll get out there. The same applies to your own development. Find a peer to discuss your development plans with over lunch on a regular basis.

Remember the last flight you took, and the attendant reminded you to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping someone else? The same applies to your own development. Humble leaders, with the best of intentions, will overlook their own development and focus on their teams. In this season of giving, save a little time and energy for yourself, too. Invigorated and full of oxygen, you’ll be a far greater mentor and leader if you’ve invested in your own growth and development first.

If you find your budget a little light, remember that 90% of development occurs through coaching and on-the-job experiences. (from EDGE Business Management Consulting, LLC )