Making the effort to take full advantage of personal and professional growth opportunities can help leaders achieve significant goals.
By Newsweek Expert Panel Forum, July 12, 2023
Many business leaders will attest that running and maintaining a successful business happens only with a continued investment of countless hours. While this time investment is crucial for ensuring that the business is performing well and on track with goals, it can limit the amount of time leaders have to spend on other pursuits, such as acquiring new knowledge and the development of a leader’s skills.
Despite this, there are steps a leader can take to reprioritize and dedicate more time to investing in themselves and their own personal and professional growth. Below, 10 Newsweek Expert Forum members share specific ways a business leader can pursue further education and ongoing growth opportunities when they have limited spare time.
1. Make Learning a Priority
People do what they see as a priority. We all have a finite amount of time, so when education becomes a priority, it moves from the category of “spare time” to “dedicated time.” Some individuals prefer microlearning. Personally, when I want to learn something, I dedicate significant chunks to it because now it’s a priority. – Paula Oleska, Natural Intelligence Systems
2. Leverage Microlearning Opportunities
In the fast-paced world of business, staying on top of your game is essential. Microlearning is the busy leader’s ally. Set clear goals, embrace learning as a daily ritual and use technology to consume bite-sized, relevant content. Apply knowledge, engage in discussions, seek feedback and reflect on progress. A few minutes daily can forge a sharper intellect. – Bala Sathyanarayanan, GREIF Inc.
3. Build Learning Into Your Work
Before acting on a business problem, take the time to learn more about the problem and how others have addressed it or are addressing it. While problem-driven learning can be hard to prioritize in moments of stress, it delivers immediate and long-term returns. Acting wisely is often more important than acting hastily. – Tia Goss Sawhney, Teus Health, LLC
4. Get a Mentor
Having a mentor with more and varied experience in your corner with whom you meet regularly is a great way to continue growing personally and professionally. Even if you only dedicate an hour a week to spending time with your mentor, you can learn so much. It will also often lead to inspiration for other areas to pursue personal and educational growth in. – Ryan Carroll, Wealth Assistants
5. Seek Out Professional and Industry Association Memberships
Think outside the organization by interacting with people who know what skills they need to develop. Explore memberships in professional or industry associations with local meetings, webinars and regional and national conferences. Also, assigning staff members to special projects or cross-disciplinary work committees, free online courses, participation on nonprofit boards and planning or execution community projects are a few ideas for internally promoting learning. – Darlene Andert, Accounting for Profitability LLC
6. Take Online Classes
There are a lot of online options right now even from the top universities. Most of the classes can be taken after work online, and these are augmented with physical meetings with professors and classmates. You can’t really say you have very little spare time all the time. Additional education can pay for itself if you become a better leader because of it. – Zain Jaffer, Zain Ventures
7. Listen to Audio Content When Commuting
People who commute to work by driving can utilize their travel time to listen to audiobooks, podcasts or the like. People who ride on public transportation can do the same while also having the option of reading books and articles in print. There are several subscription-based apps that provide well-made print and audio summaries of many great works; I myself use both Blinkist and 12min. – Joseph Steinberg, CyberSecurity and Artificial Intelligence Expert Services
8. Enlist the Help of an Accountability Partner
Enlist an accountability partner or someone that you can debrief, challenge and share resources with. This will encourage consistency and diversify your sources of learning. Most leaders have a competitive edge to them, so nurturing that and finding someone to intellectually spar with not only keeps them relevant, but also naturally generates a habit and fuels motivation. – Leah Marone, Corporate Wellness Consultant
9. Divest Before You Invest
When you choose to invest in something new, divest of something else first. Start small with your strategy to divest. Choose momentum over momentous. Think in five-minute increments rather than five-day increments. Reallocate five minutes at a time until you create space to dedicate to your own growth. – Karen Mangia, The Engineered Innovation Group
10. Find Educational Activities That Align With Your Goals
Education and ongoing growth isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Find the educational activities that mean the most to you and focus your energy there. If in-person events are more effective for you, that’s great! If you prefer online events, then that’s wonderful! If you value a free-flowing brainstorming environment, go for it! There is no wrong answer, except for staying stagnant, not learning and refusing to grow. – Melissa Puls, Ivanti