Changing Your Approach Towards CPD
We know that you have read the title of this blog, seen ‘CPD’ and thought ‘another boring post’! If that is you, then you really need to keep on reading as we are about to show you just how rewarding CPD is if you get into the right mindset. It is always important to keep up to date with the latest developments in your sector, as well as renewing your skills on a regular basis.
By demonstrating up-to-date knowledge, skills and behaviours, your performance at work will improve and not only will you have a higher level of job satisfaction but you will have more career opportunities.
How to Approach CPD
Just as a quick reminder, let’s run through exactly what CPD is. Continued Professional Development (CPD) is a record of what you experience and learn, as well as how you apply this within your role. The experience gained can be formal or informal, and should be thoroughly tracked and stored within a CPD record.
This is all well and good in an ideal world; but the fact is that the majority of people don’t take a structured approach towards their CPD. Most just keep a list of the events or activities they undertake, so that when asked during an annual appraisal there is some form of evidence to demonstrate their CPD activities.
By recording CPD in this way, people are just seeing it as a ‘tick box exercise’ that needs to be completed in order to pass an inspection. The principle behind CPD is that individuals take responsibility for improving their skills, and want to do so – rather than being driven by external factors. If this is the approach you take, it is time to start re-evaluating your CPD process and develop some good habits. After all, you want to be able to deal with future challenges head-on, don’t you?
The CPD Process
If you are feeling stuck in your ways and aren’t sure how to change your CPD process then we have you covered. Going back to the basics, CPD needs to:
- Be a documented process
- Be self-directed, and driven by you (no one else)
- Focus on learning from experience, as well as reflective learning
- Help you set long-term development goals
- Include a mixture of formal and informal learning
The first step in changing your approach towards CPD is acknowledging that the way you are currently doing things isn’t working. Try not to see this as a negative thing, but more a new beginning and a chance to try an alternative method.
Start With The Here & Now
Before you start rushing into creating a new CPD strategy it is important to benchmark where you are now, so that you can track your progress. The best way to do this is a self-assessment, such as a SWOT analysis where you review your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It is also worth taking a look at your job description (which you probably haven’t looked at since you joined the company), to see if there are any gaps in what you are doing on a day-to-day basis.
Planning Your CPD
It is always good to set goals too and regularly review them. Not only will this give you motivation, but you will have a clearer sense of direction of where you want to take your career in the future.
As soon as you can clearly see the areas you need to develop in, you can prioritise those goals which will make a quick impact. Rather than dreading taking up CPD, think about what you can achieve within a short period of time. Could you do some industry reading to make sure you are up to date on the latest regulations? If you start small, then you will find it much easier to carry out CPD regularly as you will be more motivated.
Be realistic with your CPD plan too, and don’t try to cram too much into the first couple of weeks or months. If you only have a couple of hours a week, then make your goals smaller but more regular. By dragging a larger goal out over the space of a few months you will quickly become disheartened.
As always with goals, make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely). Sticking to this format will really help to achieve your goals and objectives, as well as keeping you on track with your CPD.
We hope you have found this blog useful, and best of luck with your CPD. Most importantly, remember to enjoy yourself and keep reviewing your progress. You will be surprised just how far you have come in a short period of time with this new mindset!
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.