Developing Skills to Grow Your Career

Sometimes you develop skills to grow your career. When you’re growing your career you’re developing skills that you will need in a future role. And learning new things is a great way to keep your mind elastic and stop life being stagnant - that’s why it’s fun and rewarding. But as a reforming accountant I understand why it’s often better to focus on quick payback instead of future promises.

So what skills do you focus on developing in the short term?

The answer to this comes from applying a little business strategy:

Imagine you’re choosing between developing Skill A or Skill B?

  • Skill A relates to 40% of your job description (by results or time) and

  • Skill B is 10% of your job (by results or time spent).

So improving your performance by 10% is going to produce 4 times better returns if you focus on Skill A instead of Skill B.

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Don’t miss the wood for the trees

Now this sounds bleedingly obvious but sometimes we miss the obvious that’s right in front of our face, like where does all of our time go?!

  • If you’re spending a lot of your time in meetings, you can even develop your meeting skills. People hate meetings because the average meeting is poorly run. Or maybe the skill you need is the ability to know what meetings are important to go to and how to say no to the rest.

  • Are you snowed under by email? Do a course on email management...

  • Do you need to communicate with people a lot? Do a communications course…

To apply this in practice, all you have to do is look at your top 3 deliverables and focus on skills that will make you faster and better at these.

Investing where you get the best returns

If you’re interested in getting the most from your skills development then it’s a simple rule of thumb to invest in those skills that you use the most. Because your return is how much you improve multiplied by how much you use those skills.

But that’s not the only place with easy to get, low hanging fruit. As you will have already guessed your weaknesses have the biggest opportunity for improvement. But there’s not much point in developing a weakness if it isn’t important. There are some great circumstances where it makes a lot of sense to fix weaknesses.

Next Steps: Self-Leadership: Developing Yourself

If you can’t find one unique thing that shines through, perhaps you can find a unique and uncommon combination of things that make up your USP. To be a better self-leader start with improving your self-leadership skills with self-leadership training. Self-Leadership: Developing Yourself is a quick, online training course that you can use to kick-start your self-development.


Do you have any comments, questions or tips about skills development to grow your career? Please share in the comments below.