68% of Australians want to read more.
Does that resonate with you? This was found by the Australia Council for The Arts who conducted a study on Australian Book Readers. Interestingly, the top non-fiction reads were autobiographies, memoirs and biographies, and cookbooks!
One of the most popular books on the market since 1989 is Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you haven’t read it, you’ve heard of it!
It sold over 25 million copies in 40 different languages!
The value of reading for personal and professional development as see through Covey’s 7 Habits:
Habit 1: Be Proactive:
Take responsibility for your life: It’s been decades since your employer took 100% responsibility for your ongoing professional development. It’s up to you to identify your needs, source learning and development options and pitch for support to engage the opportunity. Additionally, with learning and development budgets fluctuating with the economy, now more than ever it’s your responsibility to address your development.
Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind:
Expand your perspective and use your whole brain are two directives Covey calls on for helping you begin with the end in mind. The more reading and development you undertake the more you expand your world which in turn helps inspire greater and greater personal and professional goals.
Habit 3: Put First Things First:
This habit is all about productivity and time management! So when Covey instructs to manage yourself, build personal relationships, and organise and execute around balanced priorities, it aligns well with being proactive about you scheduling your personal and professional development.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win:
Adopt an abundance mentality and develop and maintain integrity. These could be viewed from he perspective of when and how you pitch for your personal and professional development. Knowing that, like you, others also want development but there is limited budget: ask yourself how your development goals could also support others you work with.
Habit 5: Seek First To Understand Than To Be Understood:
When undertaking development activities, you gain a richer experience by being an active listener and working to see the perspective of others. Note, you don’t have to agree with the perspectives, simply work to understand them and see how they apply for them.
Habit 6: Synergize:
Synergy means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When undertaking learning and development, how do you ensure you build your network. Work to learn and value differences as a means to synergize.
Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw:
This habit might be one of the most powerful when it comes to personal and professional development: “To keep progressing, you must learn, commit, and do – learn, commit, and do – and learn, commit, and do all over again.” By expanding your mind and you are equipped to think even more analytically, creatively and intelligently every day. This makes your day even more productive!
These are small snapshots of how you might apply the habits to your personal and professional development.
Productive leaders schedule time for their development. Keeping in mind that small consistent steps often lead to big transformations. If you read everyday, commit to implementing your learning, reflect on progress, and make this a habit you’ll see your opportunities, influence, and career improve. Whether you love your current job, want to move out or up reading is a fantastic place to put some focus.
In a recent coaching call, Mark scheduled 15 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays into his calendar for the next month, plus a review at the end of the month. He could see that he needed to build a new habit so making reading an appointment in his calendar and not going overboard to start felt like a do-able step to begin. He could see that over the course a few months his reading would increase. It was interesting to note that in our conversation he never questioned the value of reading, it was the time he allocated that needed addressing.
Many managers share that being so busy leading a team, reading work related material, getting on with life makes reading for personal and professional development a ‘want to’, a ‘should do’ rather than a “I do’. With only a little bit of accountability, support and an opportunity to share and learn perspectives of the reading, development becomes do-able. Edmund Burke, an Irish philosopher is quoted as saying,
“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”
This aligns perfectly with Covey’s habits, especially 4, 5 and 6.
If that sounds good, I invite you to the Book Club for Professional Development (BCforPD™):
You can join the club anytime!
BC for PD™ for dedicated professionals has three objectives:
1. reading accountability,
2. professional and professional development, and
3. networking and connection.
Benefits of your BC for PD™
? Realistic pace: one book per quarter and share your insights!
? Facilitated discussion: semi-structured conversation to maximise discussion to gain and share insights!
? No travel time: online book club meetings! (Face to face networking events are planned for the future)!
? Minimal impact to your day: meetings scheduled at the edge of your day!
?Affordable professional and personal development: Low annual fee and your choice of quarterly fee!