The Link Between Professional Development and Personal Growth
The growing dependency on high-speed Internet access, mobile technology and social networking sites have created a new link between professional development and personal growth. Individuals from all levels, positions and industries need to learn how to adapt to these dynamics in order to achieve the personal growth and professional development required to succeed today. Additionally, employers need to recognize the value of this link since obtaining human capital and optimizing human capital investments are two of the most critical issues facing organizations in the future.
With 68% of U.S. households having broadband Internet access, individuals increasingly expect to be able to work flexible hours and from locations other than an office building. In its 2011 report The State of Telework in the U.S. Telework Research Network concluded that regular telecommuting in the U.S. grew by 61% between 2005 and 2009 with 45% of the workforce employed in a position compatible with at least part-time telework.
Contributing to the rise of telework is the advent of mobile technology. Of the 5.3 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, approximately half a billion used their phone to access the Internet. With widespread mobile access to the Internet employees now use their personal devices to handle work-related tasks, such as accessing corporate email and viewing documents as well as for personal activities for texting, picture sharing or applications.
One of the more common tasks individuals do with their mobile phones is to access a social network site. According to the 2011 SHRM Workplace Forecast "in 2009 one out of four HR professionals said their organizations used social networking sites to look up candidates before inviting them for an interview. Over 85% of HR professionals said they would be less likely to hire a candidate whose social networking profile showed evidence of unprofessional behavior."
This link between professional development and personal growth will continue as more individuals around the world become dependent on high-speed Internet
access, mobile technology and social networking sites.
Geoff Colvin wrote about the value and significance of this link in Talent is Overrated and proclaimed that "individuals are under unprecedented pressure to develop their own abilities more highly than ever before, quote apart anything their employers may or may not do to develop them."
Since organizations have reduced their training and development budget, yet continue to demand more from leaner workforces, individuals need to take the initiative and enhance their ability to think differently, be creative and innovate in order to grow both professionally and personally.
According to IBM's 2010 Global CEO Survey, eight in ten CEOs expect their environment to grow significantly more complex and fewer than half believe they know how to deal with it successfully. To succeed in today's hyper-competitive market "it will be counterproductive to simply to carry on with the current stimuli policies, management strategies and curricular approaches." Alvin and Heidi Toffler echoed such sentiment in Revolutionary Wealth and wrote "To deal with today, therefore we need not only new knowledge but new ways to think about it."
In addition to thinking differently, individuals also need to improve their creativity. The capabilities of the previous Information or Knowledge Economy - price, quality, and much of the left-brain analytical work have been surpassed by the demands of today's Creative Economy. As Daniel Pink noted "to be successful today professionals need to improve their creativity as it relates to design, storytelling, empathy, and meaning. Individuals, families and organizations need to understand that professional success and personal fulfillment now require a whole new mind."
As individuals develop their 21st century mindset, they will also need to demonstrate a higher level of innovation. Since "the powerful forces that drive today's economy come with no instructions on how to harness them" individuals and organizations will have to rely on the ability to develop and implement innovative products, services, experiences and processes by "harvesting knowledge from a range of disciplines including science, technology design, social science and the arts. Such an approach,in the words of Innovation Nation author John Kao, "will help individuals, companies and entire nations to continuously create their desired future."
In its 2011 report: Learning to Innovate, The American Society for Training & Development noted that to remain successful in today's hyper-competitive environment, "companies need to have systems and strategies in place to encourage, develop, and sustain innovation in every role in the organization."
As individuals improve their ability to think differently, be creative and innovate to forge the link between professional development and personal growth, they should have strategies of their own. One such strategy individuals could use is The MEAPA Way that forms the foundation for our workbooks, workshops and free content.
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