The Best Investment Strategy May Not Be What You Think

Say the words investment strategy, and most of our minds immediately go to money and financial investments. But what if you shifted your thinking away from money to personal or professional development as an investment strategy?

It’s January, so millions of people are setting New Year’s Resolutions. Weight loss is the #1 resolution, and most people will give up after a few weeks. But what if this year you focus on a different type of personal development that will make you a better leader, a more effective communicator, or shift from a boss mindset to a coaching mindset? The investment will pay huge dividends.

Taking Action

I’m an avid reader and lifelong learner, so I am always on the lookout for tools and inspiration to make me a better leader, parent, spouse, and citizen in general. I could read hundreds of books a year about leadership and coaching, but that won’t make me better at those things. The secret is investing time and energy into applying the concepts. This means taking action.

Planning for Success

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” She is absolutely right. Let’s say you read a book about coaching that focuses on asking better questions. You could be intrigued and think about the book, or you could take the concepts and create a plan for how you will implement them in your life.

Your personal development investment doesn’t need to be huge. The secret is to crawl, walk, and then run. Using the example from above with the coaching book, here’s an example of an action plan with implementation.

  1. Reflect and journal on the key takeaways from the book and identify one concept that is applicable to your personal situation. Example: Instead of giving advice, learn to ask good questions.
  2. Write out how you will apply the concept in real life and with whom. Example: When Jeannie resists changes in patient care procedures, I will avoid being judgmental and ask questions that delve into her thinking.
  3. Summarize your learning after you apply the concept by journaling the key elements of the planned encounter and your observations. Example: I asked Jeannie how she thinks the changes will improve patient care. She gave two good examples, and I was able to reinforce her thinking. I found that doing this helped build buy-in and kept me from feeling irritated with her. We both adopted more of a learner mindset and left the meeting feeling positive.

Having a coach is another great way to invest in your personal development and adds a layer of accountability. Baird Group’s coaches have helped many leaders make significant and lasting changes. You can engage a coach as part of Be the Leader Nobody Wants to Leave or by contacting Baird Group  

Make an investment in yourself this year and spend time planning your professional development rather than wishing for it. The investment will pay significant dividends.

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