What Are The Most Challenging Day-To-Day Responsibilities Of This Job Professional Effectiveness Through Personal Development

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Professional Effectiveness Through Personal Development

In today’s work environment, personal development means that at any level of the organization, members assume more responsibility for continually expanding their skills and maintaining career readiness to be professionally effective.

The amount of change we are challenged with in our jobs and careers requires us to periodically evaluate whether or not our skills are current, how the work we do in the organization may change, and what the changes may mean with regard to further skill development on our part.

New technology, government regulations, organizational policies and procedures, re-design of work and jobs, and meeting customer expectations are all changing and becoming more complex. All of this change personally challenges us to develop the skills necessary to perform competently and to do quality work in our profession.

In their book The End of Bureaucracy and The Rise of The Intelligent Organization, (Berrett-Koehler, l994) Gifford and Elizabeth Pinchot described the migration of work from classical organizations to what can be expected in the 21st century. They presented a view of work that has evolved, and continues to evolve, with the explosion of technology and the increasing importance of knowledge.

Classical organizations have relied on the intelligence of those at the top of the organization and the obedience of everyone else in the various lower layers of the organization. This fundamental building block of the classical organizational structure has had a profound influence on what “job” and “career” have meant to people over the last century:

-fixed procedures and job descriptions would set the stage for how people did their jobs. Doing your job according to these descriptions and procedures usually meant success. The boss managed the relationship between the employee, the job description and methods defined by the organization to do the job.

-personal success in the classical organization was associated with a lifetime of career promotional steps, leading through the various levels of the bureaucratic organization.

-one’s technical competence in a particular job, and efficiency in following orders helped a person advance in his or her career.

-the relationship between the organization and the working member at any level assumed a arrangement where the employee devoted self to the organization as the organization defined what that devotion meant, in exchange for pay and more or less lifetime work and security. Even when there were layoffs, this was seen to be a mere “temporary suspension” of the longer time job and organization relationship.

In terms of being a member of the classical organization ranks, there was a “marriage” to the organization which would ensure wages rising through the years, benefits, and a chance for a lifetime of promotion opportunities. In return, the loyalty of the organizational member was exchanged for job security. Obedience to the organization’s way of doing things was the glue that held the contract together.

“Job” and “Career” are now rapidly changing in meaning. The new organizational context fosters individual contribution and more self-direction and personal responsibility. Therefore:

-Organizational relationships move from dominance and submission to networking and cooperation.

-The need to discipline ourselves to what the market tells us will demand more self-management.

-There will be much more emphasis on collective intelligence and not just following what the people at the top of the organization say.

-Organizations will be much more “entrepreneurial,” driven be the needs of customers both inside and outside the organization that seek the services of the various work units.

-The use of information technology and the development of information technology skills will enhance the ability to progress in job and career in the future.

-The new work arrangement is “I will have a job as long as I serve my customers better than anyone else does or can.”

-People will move from having one job in a lifetime to many jobs in a lifetime.

-Job security will be based on spending some time on gaining new skills to help the organization meet its goals. More organizational support will go to continuing education.

-Personal commitment will be to customer’s satisfaction, not the boss’ satisfaction.

-Personal contribution will consist of helping meet overall organizational goals and customer needs, as well as to the individual work output I am responsible for in producing the output of my job.

In sum, in the 21st century, one’s personal effectiveness will rely more on self-acquired skills and self-direction, rather than on building points in, or loyalty to the organization, in hopes of some future career promotion or payoff. Indeed, personal effectiveness will be much more a personal thing and less dependent on what the boss or the organization think.

Given the changes discussed above, and the evolution of jobs, the following indicates four main skill areas that tomorrow’s worker, at any level of the organization, needs to focus development on in order to become more professionally effective:

1. Willingness to continually change and learn (emphasis on “continually”)

2. Growing ability in using information technology (computers, software packages, development and application of information itself)

3. More emphasis on productive interpersonal skills (communication, conflictresolution, ability to engage in productive team work, etc.)

4. A greater appreciation of myself (self-responsibility, self-respect, self-esteem)

SELF ASSESSMENT: SKILLS FOR PROFESSIONAL EFFECTIVENESS IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Directions:

Below is a series of questions regarding emerging core job skill areas required for individuals to be professionally effective in the 21st century. You are asked to answer the questions in a range of degrees between “No” and “Yes.” Circle the number in the range that best relates to your situation. The questions are grouped into four skill areas that are needed by all members in the emerging organization.

1. Willingness to Continually Change and Learn

1. I have come to realize and accept the workplace I was used to in the past is now rapidly changing and that I accept the fact that I must be willing to continually change and learn new things.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

2. Whenever the organization offers developmental opportunities to me in the form of training or education, I see these as opportunities to continually sharpen my work skills so that I am ready for the changes of tomorrow’s work place.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

3. I have come to accept the fact that job security as I understood it in the past is less and less a reality in any organization in the future.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

4. I realize that it is important to continually improve the way I work and am willing to continually learn and change to support that continuous improvement.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

5. I believe that organizations that do not support continuous change and learning of their members, based on the demands of the market and customers, will threaten their own existence in the future.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

2. Effectiveness Using Information Technology

1. I have enough confidence in my computer skills that I feel I could learn any new software program which had a “Help” support built in.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

2. I have sufficient knowledge about computers and technology as they apply to my work.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

3. I understand that from now on my computer and technology skills need to be continually upgraded in order for me to keep prepared for rapidly changing jobs, and I am willing to be responsible to meet that challenge.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

4. I am willing to participate in process improvement teams which are looking at greater application of information technology tools, even though this participation may result in my job changing dramatically.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

5. I am willing to work as much as necessary to become more fully skilled in using information technology tools.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

3. Interpersonal Skills

1. I understand how different personality types impact the communication process and I adjust the way I communicate based on the different personality types I am interacting with.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

2. I have developed communication skills in both presenting and listening aspects of the communications process.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

3. I am beginning to see how team work, and work in groups, will become much more important in the organization of the future and I am continually working on improving my interpersonal skills to participate effectively in group work.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

4. I understand the basic skills involved in conflict resolution, and I attempt to use these skills when a conflict arises in my interpersonal relations at work.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

5. I have a basic level of confidence in my skills to influence others when I see the need to try to change something in my job or in the organization I work in.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

4. Self-Responsibility, Self-Respect, Self-Esteem

1. I believe, for the most part, my job responsibilities ought to be defined in collaboration with my manager, since the success of the future of my job and the work of my unit is not only my manager’s responsibility, but my responsibility, as well.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

2. I frequently will make suggestions to my manager and fellow workers to improve the various aspects of my job and the operations of the unit in which I work.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

3. Whenever someone corrects my work, or suggests doing something a different way, I am able to maintain my own self-respect and self-esteem.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

4. Periodically, at the end of a day or week, for example, I look at the work I have completed and feel a sense of pride and self-satisfaction at what I have been able to accomplish.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

5. I have sufficient belief and confidence in my skills that I do not worry about being able to find work, regardless of my job situation.

No 1_____2_____3_____4_____5_____6_____7 Yes

Scoring:

Scores which tend more toward the “yes” side of the range in the assessment indicate you have worked, or are working on those key areas which are importance to continuing your professional effectiveness in careers and jobs.

Evaluate how you have scored yourself in each section. Identify those sections where your scores were lowest. Identify those items where your scores were the lowest. The lower scores suggest areas and items where you will want to plan to take some action.

Even if you score high on the “yes” side in items and or sections, remember we are living through a period of great change. You will want to plan how you are going to keep up and continually build your skills.

Use the self-assessment as a guide. It is meant to suggest areas you may need to work on. It is more important to see your strengths and weaknesses, rather than to dwell on the scores themselves.

ACTION PLANNING

Review the Self-Assessment completed above and lists some goals for your own personal development over the next six months to a year. Make them as specific and measurable, as possible. Then list some steps which need to be taken in the development and put down a target date for each step.

Build in some means of follow-up. Work with someone you feel comfortable with, your manager, a friend, a fellow worker. This way you have a built in reminder about the goals you have chosen and a person you can talk to about your progress.

# Goal: ___________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Steps Target Date

1. _______________________ _________________

2. _______________________ _________________

3. _______________________ _________________

4. _______________________ _________________

# Goal: ___________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Steps Target Date

1. _______________________ __________________

2. _______________________ __________________

3. _______________________ __________________

4. _______________________ __________________

# Goal: ___________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________

Steps Target Date

1. _______________________ __________________

2. _______________________ __________________

3. _______________________ __________________

4. _______________________ __________________

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