Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sharpening the saw

I’m back after taking a week off to “sharpen the saw”. I didn’t actually do the whole Steven Covey thing. I’m talking about something much simpler here. My well isn’t deep enough to get into all the spiritual and holistic things Covey recommends, so I, like all good guerilla fighters, stayed with the more pragmatic and tactical things.

I’m an HR person and I work with a team of HR people who are stationed in North America, Europe and Asia. This past week we all got together in sunny New Jersey for a week long team meeting. Now, contrary to popular belief, a room full of HR people does not break out into spontaneous songs and group hugs! We actually do have fun, but during our team meeting we are all focused on learning new skills and sharpening old ones. We worked on how to identify the best people to hire to help our company, how to develop the people we have on hand to perform their best and how to become more aligned with and supportive of the business.

We surveyed our team by asking the following two part question:

1. When did you learn the most in your career?
2. When were you most engaged?

Ask yourself those questions – then read on…..

Not surprisingly enough, our results mirrored the results of numerous studies – We all found that we learned more and were more engaged when we were involved assignments which pushed us beyond the limits we thought we had. We had to think, learn, grow and be responsible for our results. No one in our group really believed that they learned or grew from courses they took or seminars they attended.

This is the tactical “saw sharpening” we all need to engage in. We need to take charge of our development and seek out opportunities to learn, grow and do great things. We might fail at the assignment but you cannot fail in the goal to learn and grow.


Take charge of your personal and professional development TODAY! Start looking for opportunities to sharpen your saw by taking on new assignments that will stretch you and force you to learn new skills.

1 comment:

Gary said...

I definitely agree with your post about learning and developing most when really challenged. Recalling these formative experiences in my career, I also felt great appreciation for those who gave me the opportunity to try my wings. They undoubtedly risked failure -- or at least a blemish on their reputations -- by giving me the opportunity and freedom to grow and develop.