Tuesday, February 4, 2014

3 Approaches to Successful Personal Development


Over the last couple of weeks I have been thinking and writing about development. I have primarily shared personal stories and thoughts with the team to develop a cadence and keep our professional development top of mind in 2014. This week I want to call out some of the great personal development I have seen across the HireVue team in recent weeks. I am not using names because I am not sure everyone wants it to be shared but I think the stories are valuable and everyone can benefit from hearing about the different approaches to development. I truly respect the personal ownership these individuals have demonstrated and they serve as a great reminder to all of us - you own your personal development.

  • A member of the team has been focused on improving their presentation skills. They started by looking into a personal coach to work with them 1:1. When the first coach didn't resonate ("he was weird") they asked around and were directed to Toastmasters. They attended one session and found the group wasn't right ("they were weird"). So they researched it some more and attended another group. That wasn't quite right either ("they were old… and weird") so they are considering starting one here at HireVue. They have also been actively leveraging the internal team to learn from others who have a demonstrated strength in this area, joining calls and planning to join their peers' QBRs. What I like about this story is how this individual has been persistent and leveraged both internal and external resources. We have a great team around us with many experts in a variety of areas. To find development support you don't have to look far.


  • Another member of the team self identified an opportunity to improve their PowerPoint skills, both how to tell a story effectively using PPT and how to build out smart slides. This person approached me with the opportunity and asked that we work on it together. It was hard for them to admit that they wanted help, assuming (incorrectly) that everyone should already have mastered this skill. Over the last couple of weeks we spent several hours crafting a story and iterating on slides that they were putting together. Are they a master now? No, but I think they learned a few new things that will help with the next presentation and I hope they will continue to ask and build on their growing skills set. What I like about this story is that this person embraced the discomfort of development. It can be hard to ask for help. It is hard to say, "I am not great at this and I want to learn." Identifying an opportunity, embracing it and sucking in your ego to ask for support is how we all improve. 


  • Several members of the team have proactively asked for feedback. One noting, quite bluntly, "I am not looking for a pat on the head. I want to know what I can do better." I LOVE IT! I love the personal ownership and the candid ask. Development requires digging in, asking the question, listening and then acting. One person asked that we add this to our one-on-one meeting schedule so we discuss development opportunities regularly, not waiting for a special event or special opportunity, just keeping it top of mind and a point of on-going discussion. I LOVE IT!
These are just a few examples of the development culture we are building. It takes time, persistence, creativity and a mindset of embracing the opportunities we each have here. I hope that these stories create a spark for you. 

You own your personal development. Do something with it!


About David Verhaag

David is the Vice President, Client Experience at Degreed, the lifelong learning platform. Prior to Degreed, David established and scaled the Customer Success function at Kahuna and HireVue and spent eight+ years with SuccessFactors where he led the development of the global Customer Value team. David lives on a sailboat in Half Moon Bay, CA.

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