Professional Growth & Development is a Team Sport

March Madness and the road to the Final Four may be over, but the lessons live on – no one achieves success alone. It takes a team and it takes a united effort working towards a common goal. Even though the goal of growth and development may be the same, the motivation may be different. Leaders want to retain their top talent, build high-performing teams, and reduce turnover, and workers want to learn, grow, be challenged, and feel valued by their employers. All of this can be accomplished, and both sides win, when training and development is a priority.


In fact it is not “a” priority, it is “the” priority today. A workplace survey report found that if a company invests in its employees’ career development, 94% said they would stay at the company longer. If employees don’t feel valued, or if they don’t feel like there are opportunities for growth, 76% will actively look for another job. 74% of workers say that a lack of employee development is preventing them from reaching their full potential, 76% of employees are looking for ways to expand their careers, and 91% want personalized and relevant training.


Learning and development is no longer a perk – it is a necessity and needs a full court press from both sides.


Organizations are stepping up and investing millions of dollars in L&D initiatives. JP Morgan Chase increased their $250 million upskilling investment to $600 million, Amazon has committed to spending $700 million on upskilling their employees, and PwC is investing $3 billion in upskilling over the next three to four years. Not many companies can afford to spend millions or billions of dollars, but all companies can afford to do something – or rather, they can’t afford not to. Learning and development can be accomplished with in-house training, third-party training like ON Point, off-site activities like the Women ON Point Signature Leadership Summits, management or sales training programs, mentorships, professional certifications or higher education, or 1:1 executive coaching engagements.


It’s also important for employees to step up as well. Leaders and managers are not mind-readers and need input, ideas, and transparency from their people. You can’t just wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder and offer and endless array of development opportunities. You need to know what your career goals and aspirations are; to have enough self-awareness to be able to identify your gaps and areas of growth and improvement; to be resourceful in finding options, courses, programs, leadership summits, coaches, and more; and to initiative the conversation with your manager, keep it top of mind, present a compelling business case if need, and drive it with confidence.


When you and your manager share a common goal that growth and development is the top priority and create a winning game plan, then you are well on your way to your own Final Four.