January 15, 2018

Become the best version of you in 2018

What better time to think about your job role, skills and career development than the start of a new year? It may sound like a cliché, but there is something about the dawning of a new year that makes people reflect on what they are doing and why and what they would like to change and why.

The trick is to make sure this isn’t only a fleeting reflection, something that slips off your radar before January is out. It needs to be an ongoing focus. It is all too easy for HR professionals to get caught up in everyday work and the learning needs of the workforce, to the detriment of your own learning needs and career development. Don’t let that happen! Here at DPG we’ve talked before about the propensity for HR to fall victim to cobblers’ children syndrome (see this previous DPG blog to find out more), leading to people professionals neglecting their own learning needs.

That’s why it is so important that you keep developing yourself as an HR professional. We all need to be proactive learners now, whether you work in HR, finance, sales, IT….By taking control of your own learning path you can ensure you have the skills, capabilities and attitudes necessary to succeed now and in the future.

Start by establishing where your career is now and where you want it to be in 12 months – five years’ time. If you are a generalist, is there actually an area of HR you would like to specialise in? If so, how will you get there? If you are already a specialist, do you need to gain new skills? Identify where your skills gaps are and then how to address those gaps.

Once you have established where you are now, it is important to set clear, realistic goals about where you want to be, when and how. The how bit is critical as this is the bit that makes achieving your goals possible. If you have identified x as a skills gap, then set goals about how to fulfill x. It is often useful to think in terms of short term, medium term and long term goals. Breaking goals down into achievable steps makes it much more likely you will achieve your end goal.

Do you share those goals with your manager and peers? Obviously, you need to be having honest, in-depth conversations with your manager about where your career is going and what skills and competencies need to be developed in order to achieve your personal and organisational goals. However, opinion and research is divided about whether publicly stating your goals makes it more or less likely that you will achieve them. In his TED talk, the entrepreneur Derek Sivers advises against sharing your goals. Why? Because he says that by vocalising them and sharing them with others, you can trick yourself into believing that you are already achieving those goals, even if you haven’t made any concrete steps.

Other people claim the opposite: that by stating your goals out loud, you make yourself more accountable. According to the psychologist, Elizabeth Lombardo, who is also author of the book ‘Better Than Perfect: 7 Steps to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love’, people feel more compelled to work towards achieving goals if they have already publicly announced what they want to achieve. Her views are explained more fully in this article.

Whether you choose to make your goals public or not, the most important thing is to keep at it. Remember the term CPD – continuing professional development? That is what you need to be doing, all of the time.

For further information about our HR and L&D qualifications, call us on 0330 660 0220.