Does your organization foster a culture of professional growth and development? Throughout my career in public service I have watched organizations weather some hard-economic times. One element always seemed to separate good organizations from the great ones. Those organizations that followed a commitment to promoting employee growth and development opportunities grew, while those that cut training budgets and services, simply maintained. It has been said, “you are either growing or you’re dying, trees are either growing or dying, plants, people, relationships are all either growing or they are dying.” I am not talking about growing in size, I am talking about growing inside. Growth at an intrinsic level is about empowering employees to become students of their professions.
Making a commitment to learning is a choice. Going back to college was a challenge I had put off for some time. As an adult learner you have other competing commitments. Work, family, and life can be a balancing act. I thought a bachelor’s degree would be the climax of my educational journey. But that was not the end of learning, taking advantage of a leadership academy offered through my employer, rekindled my desire to serve others at a higher level. While the training reinforcing my own leadership strengths, I knew I wanted to do more, choosing to grow.
In public service, if you’re not growing you are maintaining, and if you are maintaining you are failing your community. The greatest organization’s leaders promote lifelong learning. John F. Kennedy stated, “Leadership and Learning are Indispensable to each other.” The benefits of continuous learning and growth at a personal and professional level mean you will continue to place a strong importance on learning new skills and sharing your knowledge base with others, which will assist in all areas of your life, from creating more meaningful relationships, to better organization and time management.
We owe it to the public we serve to produce the best and most innovative solutions to the services we provide. It begins with a commitment to growth opportunities, don’t be willing to settle for the status quo, don’t maintain. Empowering all members within your organization to incorporate a lifetime of growth will lead to increased job satisfaction, heightened employee motivation, and greater efficiencies in processes. Putting knowledge into practice is what makes us all leaders. Applying what you learn improves your emotional intelligence, promotes innovation, and supports strategic thinking. Growing the best organization is possible through learning opportunities.