“Never stop learning,” says David Olk, in his latest column for Inc. “Even when you don’t have time (who does?)”
Even when you are the CEO and think you’ve made it to the top, you can always better yourself — especially for those around you. But when reality is that time is scarce and business is busy, stick to the basics. These are my three professional development musts.
1. Hire an Executive Coach.
It will make a huge impact. Executive coaches help you identify your blind spots and take on the awkward task of running a 360-degree assessment of how other people perceive you — if you haven’t had the pleasure of one of these, they ask your direct reports, colleagues, bosses, board members, your partner, even your mom all about your strengths and weaknesses.
They look for common denominators and report back with a constructive analysis. It feels more like a peek at your tombstone than a therapy session. Sometimes they even equate you to an animal. I’ve been told I’m like a Golden Retriever: playful and really nice, but he’s going to get that stick at all costs and run you over if necessary. I digress.
Being self-aware is vital to becoming a successful leader. You realize how your behaviors and habits inform your leadership style and choices. You might not be able to change the way other people view you, but that level of awareness helps you make quicker, more confident decisions. You’re simply not second guessing yourself. It’s worth the cost and the long-term benefit is immense. If you’re on a budget (or if you’re CEO of the year and want to offer this to all your employees), check out Goalspriing, an early-stage startup that’s democratizing executive coaching. My personal executive coach is Clive Crooks — he’s changed my life.
For two more tips on what you should be prioritizing, see the full article as published on Inc here.