A-Z of Interim: P is for…Personal Development

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Image: © Alain Lacroix | Dreamstime.com

September 2016. A leadership workshop. I was having severe second thought syndrome. What seemed like a really great idea when I was taking a break between assignments, wasn’t such hot stuff now that I had a demanding client and a burgeoning task-list. Can I actually afford to use a billable day for myself?  Why am I sitting here when there are multiple, more important work issues needing my time? I actually paid for this? 

Sound familiar?  I’ve often remarked that work as an interim means fast-paced days with relatively little opportunity for reflection. Personal development? Well, surely that’s for people with time on their hands. Erm, actually…no.

As an interim, you choose a path that means you are your own currency. So stay current! People buy you on the basis of your experience, but they also hire you on the value you can bring to the assignment. Trotting out tired ways of working and outmoded thinking no longer cuts it in today’s working world.  That sort of old-school behaviour went the same way as the old-boy network! The harsh reality is that you will need to stay on top of developments in your industry, role or specialism if you want to thrive commercially. You will, as the Buddhists say ‘be called on to expand’. So why not invest in yourself to extend your professional reach?

Here are the top 3 reasons why personal development isn’t optional:

  • Deepening your knowledge, honing your skills and building additional expertise makes you marketable in a way that breathes success, not stasis.  Standing still is going backwards!
  • Broadening your interests to related fields can bring an entirely new network into your orbit, and the opportunity to meet new clients. Widening your network pays dividends if you maximise time building new connections and maintaining existing ones. 
  • And finally…using your time wisely between assignments can give you an edge in interview – and also helps to prevent desperation from setting in, should you find yourself adrift in sluggish interim seas…

What do you think?  Is personal development an optional extra, or a wise investment of time? Answers on the blog, please.