During a recent meeting of an executive group that I am a part of, I listened as various leaders shared books they read or plan to read to help in strategic planning for their businesses. They also referenced self-development books to help with their personal growth. Then, it came to me.
I shared with the group that I’m not much of a business book reader. And I’m not the best at writing down my personal goals. It made me wonder if I should.
We all have different learning styles. For some, reading self-help or leadership books accelerates their personal development.
I do like a good book, but I prefer reading for pleasure and learn best by doing and observing.
I chose to write about this topic because some people feel like they have to read the books and can get so wrapped up in changing that they fail to be themselves. Or they can spend so much time chasing after something new and trying to determine the best path that they fail to execute on what they already know.
I’ve worked to make continuous improvement a natural part of what I do – throughout the year. Here’s a look at some examples:
- I actively participate in industry events, nonprofit boards and executive groups that interest me. This is a good way to experience first-hand what good and not so good can look like. It makes me realize how similar the challenges are regardless of industry and how we can all benefit from others’ best practices.
- We support using outside consultants with strengths in the areas we need. Instead of worrying about improving our own weaknesses, we outsource it. They’re subject matter experts and have “read the books.”
- I actively observe the behavior of others. You can learn a lot about what to do and not do by paying attention to the people around you. There are best practices being used all the time. Keep your eyes open – you’ll know it when you see it.
- I actively seek input from people that I respect on items that I need a broader perspective on. We are all surrounded by people with experience and expertise that we don’t have. I lean on them.
- I learn when I present by preparing and doing my homework. I’m often asked to present to groups within and outside of our industry. There are times when I know my subject very well and others when I don’t. Presenting is a great way to learn because you need to understand your subject matter and have confidence in your material and delivery.
We all have our preferred ways of enhancing our personal development. If self-help books serve you well, keep reading them. But if they don’t, try something different. Own who you are – and who you are not. Books don’t change you. You change you.