Today’s guest post comes from another online connection, Travis Sinquefield, HR Manager and Consultant for H&S Companies, P.C. and writes over at DevelopingOrganizations. Check it out, I think you’ll like it!
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about personal development. I am the kind of person who is always thinking about where I am currently and where I want to be, at least on a professional level. I have not given much thought of where I want and should be on a personal level, however.
This past weekend I read “How Will You Measure Your Life?” by Clayton Christensen. If you are not familiar with him, he is a management professional at the Harvard Business School and the preeminent scholar on innovation. I was drawn to this book, not just because I am a fan of Clay, but also because of the difficult he was going through when we decide to write this book, which includes battling cancer and then having a stroke. As you can imagine, this was quite a time of introspection for him.
In the book, he references many different management theories and how they can be applied to your personal life. At the end of the book, he gives out a three step process for helping to determine your purpose in life:
- Determine the “likeness” in which you would like to be – i.e. decide what kind of person you want to be and what you stand for, both personally and professionally
- Commit yourself to doing everything possible to make your ideal likeness become a reality
- Develop a metric to measure your progress and success
While this seems like a pretty simple process, in reality in can take many years to fully realize the process and apply it to your life. For Clay, it took over 15 years. For myself personally, I hope it won’t take that long because these are questions I have been considering, albeit in different forms, over the years.
As an HR Manager, I have been tasked by the leaders in my organization to work with each employee on a development plan. This spring, during our annual reviews (we do in May after tax season, due to the nature of our work), I sat down with each manager and also each employee and we came up with a couple development goals for each person. Most of these were more general in nature and not quantitative at all, such as getting a particular certification or working towards becoming a tax expert in a particular area.
Clay has me thinking how I work his thoughts and ideas into the development process. I discussed with each employee on where they would like their career to go, but I never really discussed with them their purpose in life and the type of life they want to lead on both a professional and personal level. I am hoping for many of them that their purpose is to be an accountant (or otherwise we might have to have some other discussions), but I really think it is important for every individual to take the time to reflect on what their purpose in life is and how they will measure their life.
Maybe I am a bit out of the ordinary, but I believe organizations should take an active role in both the personal and professional development of their employees. After all, they will probably spend more time with us at work than with their families. In addition, as CPA’s, they are the face of our firm to the public and represent not only themselves but also the company. I would think we would want our employees to represent us well.
As a leader within your organization, have you taken the time to help individuals develop on a personal and professional level? Have you asked them what their purpose is in life, and the standards by which they are going to measure themselves?
Just as important, have you asked yourself the same questions? I know I have. I just have to remember that asking the questions is the easy part – it’s finding the answers that are difficult.
Photo Credit: helpyourself2life
About the Author:
When he isn’t trying to become a blues legend in the confines of his basement and chasing around 2 little kids at home, Travis is an HR Manager and Consultant at H&S Companies, P.C., an accounting and business consulting firm in Grand Rapids, MI. After wandering through a career in financial services, he completed an MBA in Human Resource Management from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and made the switch to working in the trenches of human resources. He is also fascinated with the field of organizational behavior, particularly on the topics of competence, motivation, and leadership. He can be found on Twitter and on LinkedIn.