Just telling people they need to grow is one thing. Actually offering practical ideas is what really helps leaders to reach their full potential.

Here are a few ideas from dozens listed in the Growing and Developing section of the Growing the Distance: Personal Implementation Guide.

  • Get a personal coach or counselor to guide your personal development. He or she can be a sounding board, gather feedback from those you work with, prod you to reach your goals, provide advice, or encourage you.
  • If lack of time is your reason for not investing more in your personal growth and development, figure out what’s chewing up all your time. For a few weeks (ideally a month), keep a log of how you spend each fifteen minute block of your day from the time you get up until the time you go to bed. Before you start, develop categories such as reading, learning, meetings, family time, relaxation, travel, telephone calls, visiting, preparing, planning, etc. Estimate how much time you spend in each activity before you start your log. Once your log is complete, compare your estimates to the way you actually use your time. Then compare that to your vision, values, purpose, and strengths. Identify the key areas for change.
  • Setting personal breakthrough goals that are well beyond your current character, ability, or habits is to set yourself up for failure. That’s why crash diets and so many New Year’s resolutions fail. Build a series of small wins and new habits that gather momentum and confidence to keep you moving forward.
  • Join the “Daily Reflect and Plan Club.” You need at least 15 minutes but ideally 30 to 45 minutes each workday. Use this time to read or listen to spiritual, inspiring, or educational material, write in your journal, daydream, review the previous day, set your priorities for the next day to sort out the urgent from the truly important, pray/meditate, continue developing your vision, values, and purpose, etc. Experiment with many of these activities until you find the ones that are most meaningful for you. You may need to juggle the time you do this to suit what’s available, but try to do it during your peak performance hours.
  • Develop or join a network of colleagues who are as interested in personal growth and development as you are. This can be a powerful source of learning from other people’s experiences. It’s also a great place for you to reflect on your own experiences and articulate your improvement plans
  • Use Benjamin Franklin’s “method for progressing.” He identified thirteen virtues he wanted to develop. Each week he worked on one of the virtues for a total of “four courses (cycles) in a year.” Each night before retiring Franklin reflected on and recorded his progress on that week’s virtue.