By Dene On August 19, 2013 · Add Comment Personal and professional development are the subject of much writing, debate, study and investment.
Captured in the acronym CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Professional Development refers to the skills that you have to develop and nurture to keep on top of the functional things you do within your job. Personal development could be defined as the development of the skills, abilities and attitude to life  that allow you to deal with the increasing personal responsibilities you gain as you go through life. Where this all starts to get confused is when we take on a management role; because at that point it is not just our skills and qualifications at a functional level (the professional side of development) it is our ability to get the best out of ourselves and others (the personal side of development) that comes to the fore. The trouble is that in a world where the financial result is the final arbiter of success, how you get there doesn’t matter. There are side effects to this approach to management: loss of engagement, lack of commitment, lack of initiative, loss of loyalty, fear of change, and in fact most of the issues that any scholar of people management would describe as a dysfunctional team.
More than ever businesses need to be flexible and able to respond quickly to competitive threats in the market.
If stakeholders are not engaged with the vision and direction of the business because of the management style then the cost of delivering that vision will go up as time and money are used to overcome the consequences of disengaged and uncommitted people. This area is about the support you provide to trainees in relation to their personal and professional development.
There was once a time when I’d get frustrated about the lack of opportunities to travel for conferences or trainings.
Using technologies I mentioned above and seeking on-campus opportunities for professional development started with a mindset, a personal choice to pursue learning beyond the conventional means I was familiar with. The personal views, contents, and opinions expressed in my blog are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
There are many occasions when the terms are used interchangeably but they are very different. In some professions, Law, Accountancy and Medicine for example CPD is a necessity to maintain your ability to practice and has to be proven through formal CPD programmes conducted by organisations external to the one for which you work.


These skills are not just tied to our working lives they permeate everything we do; our personal relationships, working relationships, our capacity to handle stress, anxiety and uncertainty for example. The farther up the management tree we go the more the role is about managing and getting the best from others; both internally and external to the organisation, aka stakeholders.
So there are many people who run companies, subsidiaries of companies, public sector bodies, small and medium size enterprises, not for profits, departments and teams who get results with little or no regard for personal development. It is the process by which we become more proficient at handling change, uncertainty and unpredictability.
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It made me think about my future career path and finding creative ways to learn the skills and acquire the experiences necessary to get to where I’d like to go. It started with a choice to stop thinking of the limitations and looking at all the possibilities on how I could improve my professional self. In other career paths CPD is not a formal requirement and is dependent on the culture of the organisation for which you work. Too often personal development, in a work context, is defined as the soft skills and dismissed by those who hold the budget strings as a non-essential cost rather than an important investment.
This is the point when personal development becomes synonymous with professional development; it gets wrapped up in terms like leadership and team building programmes. In fact many of these people would say that too much time spent on the personal side not only gets in the way of achieving results and maintaining control; it actually promotes a “get away with it” culture.
Effective response to a competitive threat is entirely dependent on the people in the business and their ability to adapt to, adopt and accept new ways. Frankly, I decided to make a personal choice to stop complaining about the opportunities I don’t have and start thinking about how I could develop my own professional development. In some ways, I have some ideas on where I’d like to be, but at the same time, I am open to the possibility that there just might be some careers out there for me that have yet to be invented.


Social media, open learning initiatives, mobile, e-books, and cloud computing have made information more readily available. However; whether we are successful or not, in our chosen career or path, is as dependent on our personal development as our professional.
In many cases it will be frontline employees who are the first to know that something is going on in the market.
When I made the decision to stop complaining and comparing my professional development (or lack of) with others, I made the choice and commitment to be accountable for my professional development and in general, the future of my career. If they do not feel inclined, empowered or safe to share this it is detrimental to the business. I welcome them when they are offered, but I no longer wait for when those opportunities happen to come by.
Through social media, I have been able to develop professional and personal networks consisting of higher education and IT colleagues all over the country.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been able to collaborate with a few of these colleagues on some projects.
I wanted to learn more about student affairs, so I accepted the opportunity to be a mentor for NASPA Undergraduate Fellowship Program (NUFP) and I also volunteered to be a member of the planning committee for a New Professionals Institute program for new student affairs professionals. I wanted to network with other folks on campus and further develop my leadership skills, so I requested to be a mentor for a campus-wide leadership program.



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