One thing that unites all successful business executives is a focus on developing an expert skillset in their industry. This article will cover four different ways that someone can develop their skills to go from a business amateur to a business professional.
Find a Mentor or Coach
Think of the greatest sports athletes of all time. Odds are you can actually remember the coach that helped craft their strategy and gave advice that led that athlete to greatness. So why treat business any differently? There are thousands of experts in your industry that you should contact and learn from. A simple way to find a mentor or coach is to ask your network. Is there someone at your company that you look up to? Is there someone at a competitor company that you admire? In-person networking events are another great way to meet mentors.
Coordinate with Colleagues over the Phone
There is a lot to learn from your fellow colleagues. A simple, scheduled phone call once a week can give you insight into what is working for them and spark your creativity and productivity in your workplace. Many workplaces have unlimited international calling for business purposes, which makes things much less stressful. The people you work with (and not necessarily located in your office) are most likely on the cutting edge of technology for your industry and may have information that you can learn from and immediately implement. They are likely to have great technical knowledge that will lead to you becoming an expert in your industry.
Volunteer to Help or Coach Others
One of the greatest secrets of teaching is that it is the best way to learn! You can find opportunities to help and teach others through education programs, social initiatives from your company, and just browsing the internet for local volunteering opportunities. Another great way to coach others is to take the mentorship role for a newer employee in your company. They will appreciate your expertise and will often have new industry information that could prove useful in your own career.
Books and Research
As an alternative to having a mentor, pick up a book about your industry and really study the lessons. There may be thoughts or concepts that never occurred to you.
Using all four of these methods is key to becoming an expert in your industry. Focus on learning more every day, helping those around you, and constantly seek advice that will lead to your improvement.