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Summer Time is Personal Development Time

People think of summer as a time to leave work early, take vacations, visit the beach and read a good book. Summer is good for all those things. But it is also the perfect time of the year for evaluating your professional life and addressing areas in need of personal development.Evaluate.The first and most important step is to evaluate where you are versus your career and professional goals. Are you on track? Falling behind? Ahead of your peers? These apply not just to titles and compensation but also experiences and responsibilities.

Where to you see yourself in a year? Five years? Are you on track to meet those career goals? If not, identify, as specifically as possible, the gaps and what steps you must take to address the gaps.Education.Education, whether a college degree, an advanced degree or a professional certification is one of the most common gaps identified during the evaluation process. Young professionals and junior executives are often too busy and put off taking on additional coursework.

This is a huge mistake. If it is not done early in the career it is never done. And bosses and more senior executives not only are forgiving when the educational work is taken on by workers early in their careers, they often cut them some "slack" in terms of their day-to-day workload to off-set it.

Find a program, register for it and start in September. If too late for September, register for the winter program.Skills.

Everyone has skill gaps. Whether it is technology, writing, public speaking or analytics and financials, evaluate your specific areas of skill deficit. Summer is an excellent time to take classes, do reading or on-line work to fill in those skill deficits.

Summer is also a good time to practice your newly enhanced skills at the workplace.Reading.Professional journals and books abound. Find those that are most directly related to not only where you are today but where you want to be professionally in five to ten years. Read all you can at the professional and technical level.

White papers on professional topics are always good to have in your arsenal of knowledge for meetings too. Find out what the movers and shakers who are above you in the organization are reading. Read those books and journal and then read others in addition to those.Networking.One of the biggest mistakes that employees of corporations and large organizations make is failing to network OUTSIDE of their company or organization. During the summer, make the time to find the top professional organizations in you field and geographic area.

Many are less active in the summer but still look for new members. Talk to colleagues and also search on-line. Belonging to one or two top local professional organizations is a smart move by establishing yourself outside of your company or organization in additional to expanding your professional knowledge.Mentor.Everyone needs a mentor.

Whether you are in the mail room or the CEO's office. Find someone inside your company or organization who has more experience and is at least two levels above you (if you are the CEO, you already have mentors). Ideally the personal should work for the same company or organization although they may be in the same field or profession and work elsewhere. Summer is an excellent time to find and establish a mentor relationship. Be candid about your goals and objectives and what you are looking for from your mentor.

Experience, candor and "chemistry" are crucial for the relationship to be productive.Special Projects.Most businesses and organization have too much work and too few people due to vacations during the summer.

It is an excellent time to volunteer for additional work outside of your area of expertise. The goal is to gain additional professional experience and exposure to more executives and other contacts. Business planning, new marketing plans or new product launches are all terrific opportunities for meeting these goals. But remember that special projects are almost always in additional to rather than in place or the normal day-to-day responsibilities and workload.While other co-workers are relaxing on the beach or fishing at the lake, you can more effectively prepare for where you want to be in five years.

Effectively use the opportunities provided by the different pace of the workplace during the summer to your professional advantage.

.George F.

Franks, III is the founder and President of Franks Consulting Group - a Bethesda, Maryland management consulting, leadership coaching and speaking practice. George has over 25 years of experience with businesses of all sizes globally plus non-profits and other organizations. He is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants (USA) and the International Coach Federation.He can be contacted at: gfranks@franksconsultinggroup.com.

Franks Consulting Group is on the web at: http://franksconsultinggroup.com.Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=George_F_Franks_III.


By: George F Franks III

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