This got me thinking of the importance of ensuring that we all look after our own personal learning – at whatever stage of our career we are at. It is much easier to take the easy way out and just keep doing what you have always done without learning anything new, but does this bring self-satisfaction, interest or improvement?
Continuous professional development or training can be informal or formal. You may do informal cpd all the time – at networking events – listening to presentations or just by reading articles online or a regular basis. However, I would strongly recommend that you regularly plan to do some formal CPD with defined learning outcomes based on your individual needs. Doing some structured learning can give you a real sense of achievement, can give your brain something else to think about and, if relevant to your job gives you an opportunity to reflect on what you are doing and give you time and space to do it better.
Formal, structured training can cost money – in fact, I would suggest that if it is going to be relevant and informative it should cost money – but consider it as an investment in yourself or your employees and ultimately an investment in your business which will bring you a return in the form of more efficient and happier staff who can bring more skills and ultimately more profit to your business.
How much CPD you require may depend upon the field you are working in or your area of specialism, One of the things that I enjoy most about working with social media marketing, is that it is always changing – I have to spend several days each month updating myself on changes to the channels and tools and learning about different and innovative ways of doing things. Even so, I sometimes need to ‘think on my feet’ in the middle of a workshop when one of the channels has updated overnight! (Not something that happens with my MS Office training!) ‘Content marketing‘ is a term that is used now as a trusted and regular form of marketing – but even 6 years ago, it wasn’t considered as something that everybody ought to be doing – it was only for big brands. Although I’ve been working in the field for many years now, I’m currently taking a formal qualification in marketing to keep my skills fresh and bring new services to my clients.
You also need to be aware of the requirement for CPD to generally ‘keep up to date’ with developments it IT, business legislation and society. Twitter and Facebook are becoming mainstream tools for personal and professional use. These days most people need to consider how they are using the tools to market their personal and professional brands or how they are using the tools for learning. Think about how Twitter has been used during the recent election – it has not had as large an impact as it could have done – but the recent cabinet announcements have been made first on Twitter by @David_Cameron which is a quick, easy, direct way of getting the message out. Do you need training to use Twitter to be able to receive information in this format efficiently and easily?
On the other hand, I don’t know if you saw the tweets by some Tory MPs after the election Question TIme? All the tweets mentioned ‘strong and commanding’ – not much personality there – no major damage to their personal brands – but perhaps if they had done some CPD they would have understood the importance of personality on Twitter!
So what CPD or training do you feel is important to keep you and your staff up to date? Do you carry out a regular training needs analysis or talk about CPD needs in annual review sessions? Do share in the comments below whether you think CPD is important and what training you have done recently.