Effectively Managing Personal Development In The Workplace

Effectively Managing Personal Development In The Workplace

              Sometime ago; in the early 1930s, a 7-year-old worked in his family’s grocery store. He always purchased six packs of Coca Cola from the store for 25 cents, and would resell them for a nickel – pocketing five cents. At age 11, he took odd jobs; from washing cars to waking up at 4:30am; selling newspapers. At 15, he had made $2,000 delivering papers and he invested $1,200 in a profit-sharing; 40-acre farm with a farmer. At 17, he bought a pinball machine which he installed in a barber shop, raking in $4 on its first night.

Fast forward to 2018, the young lad from 1937 is currently worth around $82.2 billion. Among many of his nicknames are “The world’s greatest investor of all time” and “The Wizard of Omaha”. In 2019, the ‘Almighty’ Warren Buffett; CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, was named by Forbes as the 3rd world’s richest person. Today, Berkshire Hathaway is the largest shareowner of Coca Cola and also holds shares in companies like Amazon, Apple, American Airlines, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs, American Express and over 50 other companies.



How did we get here? We definitely do not imply that purchasing six packs of Coca Cola and re-selling them, or washing cars and selling newspapers, automatically launch one to the realms of success. There is a bigger picture: The overwhelming picture of staying relevant to yourself, now and always. The context of our discussion is however limited to staying relevant in the workplace.

Personal Development in the workplace may be examined from two broad perspectives: That which is responsible by the management and the other, by the individual or employee – which our ‘Warren Buffett’ story best resonates with. It is noteworthy to mention that; in the end, we are individually responsible for ourselves, whether or not we get support from external parties. The bulk of the work; “staying relevant to yourself, now and always” is one that should be borne solely. After all, it says “Personal Development” and not “Something-else Development”. 


In the workforce, some organisations provide the platform(s) for which employees develop themselves. These platforms involve trainings, icebreaker sessions, seminars, workshops and the like which eventually culminate in Human Capital Development. As Benjamin Franklin rightly observes: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. The personal development of staff is as important as the development of the business itself. An obscure training and development structure for employees could attract loss of motivation and work detachment – which may directly impact productivity and profitability. Since Personal Development thrives on Capacity Building and A Refined Identity, organisations play a consequential role in creating a flexible atmosphere for employees – one that transforms talent and promotes value.


“One may force a horse to the stream, one may however not force it to drink water” – Such is the case of Personal Development in the workplace. Warren Buffet’s investment in “personal development” has left an indelible mark in our hearts – creating a lasting impression that will be remembered for generations to come.

The following are some tips for ‘Individual’, Personal Development at the workplace:

* Be Intentional about it: Personal Development may not mean anything else but "Intention" - It begins with a step; one religious, bold step. Set your priorities right and resolve to become a better person than you were yesterday.

* Be Emotionally Intelligent: Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to understand yourself and the feelings of others: How well do you understand your personality? How well can you manage the feelings of others? On the average, Intelligence Quotient predicts 1-20% on a job while Emotional Quotient predicts 27-45% on a job. Put differently, Intelligence Quotient may get you the job , but Emotional Quotient helps you retain the job.

* Be Teachable, Open-minded and Adaptable: These, honestly, cannot be over-emphasised. Establish a voracious enthusiasm for learning every day, irrespective of position. The process begins with unlearning, learning and re-learning, diligently. 

* Leave your Comfort Zone: Do not hesitate to try out new things - of course, value-driven experiments. Innovation has become the new drive of the 21st Century. What can you do differently? How are you preparing for the future of work? Think wild and think smart; the competition isn't for the swift.

* Get yourself a Mentor: You may not necessarily follow the mundane tradition of requesting a formal tutelage. They may be someone you admire at work and want to channel your energy in their light. Learn from them and apply your lessons to work and personal ethics.

* Network: Make friends  with colleagues from other departments at work  There is more to networking  than just exchanging contacts. Be genuine; make a sincere attempt at reaching out. Be willing to provide assistance when you can. "How can I help this person without expecting anything in return?" is one way to successfully navigate through networking.  

Although formal motivational speeches have become rather cliché in our present-day century, they remain a catalyst for shaping and re-shaping positive orientations. All the tips outlined, and more, should be encouraged when considering personal development in the work place. The process of ‘Personal Development’ is gradual and steady. Remember, ‘intent’ is all that matters – Take the bold step today and consistently live by it.