5 for 5 blog – Read it before you need it

4 Apr

Photo Apr 03, 10 39 40 PM

There is a piece of advice I really wish I had gotten early in my career:

“Read it, before you need it.”

Makes sense, right? Professional athletes spend extensive time studying opponents offensive and defensive strategies well before game day. Pilots spend hours in pre-flight study on weather conditions and precautions. But often times when it comes to our own development, we are often reacting to a comment in an annual review or by being put into a situation of leading a team or critical project.

As we have mentioned on the blog before, the challenge is not finding material on the topics you are looking for, but truly sorting the signal from the noise (http://www.5for5blog.com/5-for-5-blog-practitioner-and-researchers/). And unfortunately, you cannot wait for HR or your boss to help you sort through which are the right topics for you to prepare yourself for and which are the right thought leaders to listen to….You’ll need to help yourself by exploring a bit. Here are some ideas to help you to get started:

  • I would recommend to always read about leadership and creativity. These are the foundational skills nearly every job is hiring for today. Read about how people are practicing these in various fields and at different levels and see how you can go about developing them yourself.
  • If you aspire to be in management of any kind, read about strategy. Again, as we have mentioned before (http://www.5for5blog.com/5-for-5-blog-the-worst-review-feedback-ever-you-need-to-think-more-strategically/) the worst advice you can get is that you need to “think more strategically”, so be proactive about the elements and decisions in strategy.
  • Read about the ideas related to peers you work closely with. For example, if you work closely with marketing, spend time to read up on new books or blogs addressing the latest thinking. The goal isn’t just to make you a better conversationalist, but rather to help shed insight on how that group may be operating. If you are truly interested in new career opportunities, it may also help you understand if it peaks your interest to pursue opportunities in that space.

The ideas can certainly be endless: read up on finance if will be in management; learn more about quality and lean if you work closely with product or process development; read about human behavior if you are a manager and need to build a culture.

There is a lot of blogs and podcasts discussing how to read faster and sort through some of the noise. One piece of advice that I question though is that if you can’t immediately apply it, don’t waste your time. I disagree here and would suggest not to follow that advice. If we are focused on managing our career growth we need to adopt a read it before you need it mindset. Some ideas gathered will absolutely be able to be put into practice. Others will have time to incubate, so that they we have them when we see situations arise or we are asked to step into roles that demand we have certain knowledge at the onset. Regardless, it comes down to a choice of taking ownership of our development, and making the time to explore topics that can make a difference for our team’s and our own growth.

Here are these week’s 5 for 5 articles:

Why Silence Is So Good For Your Brain – by Carolyn Gregoire – via The Huffington Post

Short order cooks rarely make change happen – by Seth Godin – via @thisissethsblog

The power of positive words – by Richard Branson – via Virgin.com

Say Yes Before You’re Ready – And then have the #hustlemuscle to close the gap! – by Kat Cole – via Linked In

The More We Empathize With Others, The More Generous We Are – by Charlie Sorrel – via Fast Company

all the best, kevin