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Why Your Personal Development May Suck & Hilarious Video You Won’t Forget

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Is your personal leadership development like a five-minute university? One of my favorite videos is from an old chain-smoking priest character called Father Guido Sarducci played by Don Novello.

While Novello had many funny skits, Father Guido Sarducci’s Five-Minute University is the best. He offers a degree at “his university” that is based on what the “average college graduate remembers in five years after he or she is out of school.” You can watch the video below. I highly recommend you do, you won’t ever forget it.

One thing I have learned through my own personal development and in the business of developing others is that it is easy to forget most of what you learn unless you do a couple of important things.

Have you ever read a book or been to a presentation, workshop or seminar and thought, that was great! However, over time as you get back to your desk and your day to day routine you forget most of what was learned? If you answered yes, you are in the majority.

Here are three things you can do to prevent a five-minute university experience:

1. Assess. If you are taking a course, or those you lead are taking a course, make sure you are clear on what you or they will learn. Go in with a plan to succeed by assessing what you want and need to learn.

Before the training or learning experience it is important that you assess your current skills and knowledge. What are your current skills and knowledge today and what do you hope they will be later on as a result of the learning experience?

2. Take Notes and Take Action. I am surprised how often I find people in workshops not taking notes. Not taking notes is a sure way to apply very little, if anything, of what you learn.

As you take notes be thinking about what you will specifically apply. When you get back from the presentation, workshop or seminar, or finishing the development activity, take time to create a list of items that you want to apply. Create a plan of how you will take action and from there begin to tackle one or two items from your plan. Caution: Don’t try to apply everything at once. If everything is important, nothing will be important. 

3. Take Accountability. Leaders miss a big opportunity when they don’t hold those they lead accountable for what they learn. I used ask those I led to schedule a meeting when they came back from a presentation, workshop, or seminar or when they finished a book they were reading that was on their development plan. I wanted to explore what they were going to apply. Once we discussed, I would ask them to follow up with me on a regular basis to talk about their progress around what they were applying.

You can do the same thing when you go to or complete a development event. Find an accountability partner. It could be someone who went to the same event, your boss, or a co-worker who you know who will help you be accountable and schedule meetings to regularly follow up on your progress.

The key to personal development is to care. Care enough about the development of those you lead and your own development and take the time to plan and execute on what you learn. Sure it takes time, but you already invested a great deal of time in the event, why not take the time to ensure it is meaningful?

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