The Value of Lifelong Professional Learning

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

In this episode of the Fix My Project Chaos podcast, Elise Stevens talks professional development with internationally-renowned business author and speaker, Mike Clayton.

Mike is the author of 13 business books, and is regularly called upon by some of Britain’s largest public, private and not-for-profit organisations to deliver corporate training and conference keynotes. He is both an expert trainer and a passionate advocate for the benefits of ongoing professional skills’ development.

In their discussion, Elise and Mike talk about why project managers should take responsibility for their professional learning, how to develop a personalised ‘curriculum’ for skills’ development and the many benefits of lifelong learning.

“There comes a time when we have to take responsibility for our own education,” says Mike.

“The choices that we make will dictate the outcomes that we get, and if we want to get better, more demanding jobs then we’ve got to get ourselves fit for that. If you want to be healthy, you have to eat well and exercise well. If you want to be a powerful professional, then you need to train yourself well. You need to get the experiences and the knowledge that you need.”

Mike says there are many cost and time-effective ways for project managers to learn. Learning can be formal, such as through online and face-to-face training, or less formal, such as listening to podcasts, reading, and learning from others through work and social networks.

“I think my top tip would be to pick one or two online sources that you trust and enjoy, and dig deep into them,” advises Mike.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • The importance of taking personal responsibility for ongoing skills’ development
  • Employers have their own agendas and needs, that influence how they choose to invest in individual employee’s professional development.
  • “The only person who really has nothing to lose and everything to gain by investing in your career is you, yourself,” says Mike.
  • Decreased corporate training budgets have increased the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own development, in order to stay professionally competitive.
  • No learning is ever wasted when you take responsibility for your own development. You never know when or where you’ll have the opportunity to apply it.
  • Learning should be regular, ongoing and require active engagement with the subject matter – whether that is a course or taking part in professional conversations in social media groups

About Mike Clayton:

Mike Clayton is an in-demand project management and leadership consultant, who advises organisations large and small on productivity, project management and organisational change. He is a leading provider of online training for project managers, and can be found at Online PM Courses and Mike

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.