Performance Metric Friday — Personal Development

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As we finish the year and get ready for next year, it’s time to look at our personal performance metrics a little differently. Each of us has to take responsibility for our own personal development. Sure managers should be helping us improve our performance through coaching and providing the right training, but fundamentally, we are responsible for making sure we develop and improve as sales professionals.

Personal development comes through all sorts of formal and informal experiences. We learn through training programs, through books, articles, blogs we may read (hopefully you’re learning some from this one). We learn at conferences, by sharing ideas with our peers, and through mentors. It’s a mistake to limit ourselves to one form of learning, but we should mix it up, seeking as many different experiences and points of view as possible.

Take a moment and reflect on what you did to develop yourself as a sales professional, business professional and human being. Grab a sheet of paper and write down what you did for yourself this past year. What training did you go through, did you get as much as you could from it? What did you do outside of training your company may have given you to improve and learn? What books did you read? Were some of them outside pure business or sales books? What blogs did you start reading and commenting on? What online communities did you start participating in? How did you expand your network and what did you learn from them?

Now take another sheet of paper and write a plan for next year:

  1. What formal training programs are you going to take? Are you looking at programs outside of those that are just for your job?
  2. What are 2 skills that you want to sharpen? What will you do to improve them? How will you know when you reach the competency you want to achieve?
  3. What 1 new skill do you want to develop? What will you do to acquire the skill?
  4. What 1 new thing are you going to learn that will help you become more valuable to your customers?
  5. What books to you want to read? What blogs or other materials do you want to read?
  6. What communities will you participate in to learn from your peers?
  7. What do you want your direct manager to do to help you achieve your personal development goals? How will you get your manager to commit to that support?
  8. Do you have a mentor? What is your plan to leverage your mentor most effectively this year?
  9. What else will you do to improve yourself in 2012?

The best professionals never stop learning or developing. They set tough goals and commit themselves to achieve the goals. They know that no matter how good they are, how much they have learned, that if they don’t continue to learn and develop, they’ll become irrelevant.

Take some time to establish the plan, write it down, carry it with you, review where you are at least weekly.

If you are a manager, take one more step. What are you going to do to make sure each of your people has a personal development plan in place? What are you going to do to help them achieve that plan?


As the new year approaches, take some time to re-assess your selling process. Make sure it’s updated and aligned with your customers’ buying processes. For a free eBook and self assessment, email me with your full name and email address, I’ll be glad to send you a copy. Just send the request to: [email protected], ask for the Sales Process eBook

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.

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