Something that perplexes me about the professional world is that there are a number of things we seem to assume we can do just fine, in spite of the fact that we may have no training whatsoever. They include (but certainly are not limited to!) the following:
- Data visualization
- Managing people
- Giving feedback
- Assigning work
- Doing annual reviews
- Creating visual aids for presentations (e.g., powerpoint decks)
- Actually giving presentations
- Writing (emails and otherwise)
These are important things that we might do every single day! (Especially those of us who are managers) So you’d think there would be a lot more emphasis on training and focused improvement on them.
Think about it: when someone becomes a prospect researcher, they get training on a range of skills: using special resources; searching the web effectively; analyzing SEC documents; finding and using assessors’ databases; etc.
But when was the last time anyone talked about taking time to get training on data visualization? Or doing annual reviews? Or giving presentations? These are the sorts of things that many people just dive in and do, in many cases without taking a lot of time to think seriously about how we do them well (much less getting focused training).
I think this needs to change. As professionals, we have an obligation to continue to hone our skills in all areas. And if this general obligation-to-get-better notion doesn’t resonate with you, think about it this way: if you’re the gal (or guy) who is just a little bit better than everyone else at hiring people; at giving feedback; at creating visual aids for presentations; at writing… then you are going to start to stand out and get noticed, in your office, at your organization, and within your field.