Why is Continuous Self Development Necessary?
… and the importance of encouraging continuous self development to achieving an organisation’s objectives …
Written by Valérie Hayotte
Learn more about the work we do at THINK and read our blog posts about work, life and everything in between and do not forget to Subscribe!
We all develop and change as we grow older. By choosing to take charge of our development, we are able to reach our full potential and move forward to achieve what we want.
Personal development is a continuous process, an upward spiral. This is most understood by most organizations. The diagram below shows the process of developing skills.
This model was developed by W.S Howell in 1982 in his book “The empathic communicator” (University of Minnesota: Wadsworth Publishing Company). He describes the four stages as follows:
- “Unconscious incompetence – this is the stage where you are not even aware that you do not have a particular competence.
- Conscious incompetence – this is when you know that you want to learn how to do something but you are incompetent at doing it.
- Conscious competence – this is when you can achieve this particular task but you are very conscious about everything you do.
- Unconscious competence – this is when you finally master it and you do not even think about what you have such as when you have learned to ride a bike very successfully”
Whatever the level of ability, there is always another level to achieve.
I would like to go on with a citation from the book “A Manager’s Guide to self-development” (Pedler, Burgoyne and Boydell, 2007):
“Self Development is personal development, with the person taking primary responsibility for their own learning and for choosing the means to achieve this.Ultimately, it is about increasing your capacity and willingness to take control over and be responsible for events.”
Self-development means many things in different contexts of our life, our goals and our ambitions. For most people personal development is about:
- developing specific qualities and skills,
- improving performance in job,
- advancing career,
- achieving full potential as a person.
One of the key aspects of self-development in “Working With Emotional Intelligence” (Daniel Goleman, 1997) is developing self-awareness. Self-awareness is described as the foundation for outstanding performance at work. In this book, self awareness and other aspect of emotional competence is indeed directly linked to outstanding performance.
This book shows that we all have the potential to improve our emotional intelligence, at any stage in our careers, as individuals or as team members in an organization. Developing greater self-awareness involves:
- Recognising our emotions and feelings in order to understand the way we behave, but also understand other people’s behaviour,
- Being able to assess our strengths and weaknesses. We will be able to build on our strengths and abilities.
- Having self-confidence which gives us the feeling that we can accept challenges, take risks and be successful.
“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” (Stephen R. Covey, 2004), embodies many of the “fundamental principles of human effectiveness. These habits are basic, primary”. This book shows first for instance that is it important “to understand our own paradigms” and how to make a shift first before trying to understand these “Habits” to effectiveness.
“The way we see things is the source of the way we think and we act. The more aware we are of our paradigms, maps or assumptions and the extent to which we have been influenced by our experience, the more we can take responsibility for those paradigms, examine them, test them against reality, listen to others and be open to their perceptions, thereby getting a larger picture and a far more objective view.”
Effectiveness is also about potential. We are embryonic and we can develop and release more and more potential, develop more and more talents.
During all life, there are sequential stages for growth and development. Self-development is a continuous process. Any effective system must increase people’s capacity and willingness to development, particularly for themselves and their own learning.
Encouraging continuous self-development is critical in achieving an organization’s objectives. Productivity is more than just the quantity of work done. It is also the quality. “People who feel good about themselves produce good results” (The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, 2004). People and results go hand in hand.
On a very personal point of view, I would like to end this part with a last citation from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey, 2004), highlighting another citation from David Starr Jordan: “There is no real excellence in all this world which can be separated from right living”.