Wednesday of this week marked the beginning of the Lenten Season for the Roman Catholic Church, a period of time in which the faithful engage in fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  Personally, it is my favorite liturgical season, offering a special invitation to increase my commitment to those religious practices that help put faith into action.  In essence, it is spiritual training to enhance my knowledge of the faith I profess and the skills to live it out, many years after the catechesis received in becoming a full member of the Church.

The professional world offers plenty of similar opportunities for ongoing training activities to ensure you maintain your “good standing” in the community.  Those who have earned their certificate as a Project Management Professional®(PMP) from the Project Management Institute are required to complete 60 Professional Development Units (PDU) over a three-year period to maintain the certificate.  Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) has a similar 3-year cycle to earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements.  Accountants, clinicians, and an assortment of other professionals have similar mandatory requirements placed on them. 

The aforementioned organizations hold a great deal of influence in their areas of expertise and have placed a special emphasis on the need for ongoing training.  As members of those bodies, we may feel overwhelmed at the task fulfilling these ongoing requirements, but hopefully we can agree that there is wisdom in this process.  Likewise, within our own organizations, the notion of ongoing training should be placed at the forefront of the expectations we have for fellow team members and colleagues.

At netlogx, one of our six core service offerings is Performance Management, in which we act as guides for our clients in developing, implementing, and executing training.  Yet, we not only profess the benefits of performance management, but we also live it, with frequent opportunities to hone our skills and knowledge through live virtual sessions in small and large group settings, as well as a lengthy list of training modules available through our Learning Management System.  Soft skills topics such communication, diversity, expectation management, and accountability are made available with more hard skill opportunities such as Agile/Scrum, Project Management, HIPAA, and the use of technological/software tools.

Whether you leverage the services from the vendor community (like netlogx) or conduct your training activities internally, the key is to create a culture within your organization where team members are encouraged to grow in their skills and knowledge. Setting the understanding for all team members that complacency and mediocrity are not your standard, but instead continuous improvement and excellence are the expectation.  Instituting and stringently tracking SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals offer a great way to measure progress on an individual, employee level and overall company basis.

The Lenten Season is a perfect time for me to develop and execute SMART goals for my spiritual life. As it turned out my yearly performance review was also this past week, so it is also a great time to update my professional SMART goals. Training for both will be essential for my success and meeting my own expectations.  Here is to Training for Life!