Baseball players go to spring training, so should you
The 2015 Major League Baseball (MLB) campaign is in full swing. Players did not go from vacation straight to bat. They spent a month and a half getting ready for this campaign. They used this time to perfect existing skills, develop new techniques and prepare to have the best season possible. Just as MLB teams and players dedicate time and resources to train for their upcoming season, it is important that we invest in ourselves and team members to take our game to the next level.
Four strategies to develop your “professional spring training” program.
1. Read business news
Subscribe to magazines and journals that will give you insight on your business function, industry and global issues. Remain relevant by being knowledgeable on topics, trends and economic and political factors that impact your business. I regularly read Advertising Age (business function), Sports Business Journal (industry) and The Economist (global issues).
2. Participate in professional associations
Join professional associations, but do not just write a check for membership. Get active! Become engrained in the organization by participating on a committee. This will allow you to authentically develop relationships with other colleagues in the industry. These relationships will lead to your next opportunity. When you are recruiting, you will have a pool of talent whose skills you are familiar with. Working on a committee is also a great way to develop skills that you do not have. There are thousands of organizations that you could join. Be selective. Identify organizations that best fit you and present opportunities for you to contribute. Remember the goal is not to become a member, but be an active member.
3. Invest in learning opportunities
Attend conferences and summits to gain knowledge on technology and software to be more efficient on your job. At these events you will learn best practices from industry leaders, develop new skills and discuss challenges with colleagues. The environment allows you to connect with other attendees and expand your network.
Take what you have learned and apply it to your business. Do not allow the notes on your iPad to go unused or new ideas to lay dormant in your head for years. Build on your enthusiasm and put your new skills to work.
Champions do not stagnate. They continue to grow and improve. Even after they have won a World Series.
Commit to your professional development. Remain intellectually curious. Continue to learn, innovate and train to be a champion.
What are you doing to get ready for your next campaign?
Photo Credit: AP Photos/Charlie Riedel