Keeping with this theme, an excellent article by John C. Maxwell in a recent issue of Success magazine identifies the key factors in “intentional growth.” Here are my recommendations on using these factors to help yourself grow as an HR professional.

  • Start today. Your power lies in the present.Although it’s important to create strategic plans, you need to begin where you are. What will you do today to have a greater impact on your company and help you grow in your career?
  • Take complete responsibility for growth. I’m not a fan of blame or justification. As the Buddha stated, “What comes to you, comes from you.” Your HR career and its impact on the company is what you’ve chosen it to be — at least up to now. It’s your responsibility to grow your career and make bottom-line decisions where you work.
  • Learn from mistakes. I did a training program on Making Mitsakes (the misspelling is intentional). One of the best ways to prevent making mistakes is to “model” people who have been successful before you. For example, who are the most balanced, effective HR executives you’ve ever met — and what are they doing right? Chances are, if you do the same things they do, you will be equally successful.
  • Rely on hard work, rather than good luck. In this economy, you need to work both hard and smart. One important caveat: Don’t think that working longer hours than everybody else is smart.
  • Persevere long and hard. There are no quitters on the way to success. Expect bumps in the road. As I often state in my workshops, how we deal with what feels unfair to us determines our personal culture. People who adopt a survivor mentality, as opposed to a victim mentality, will come out on top.
  • Stick with good habits. The worst habit I see in managers is poor time management (see the article “1,500 Hours of Your Life … Wasted on Busywork”) How many of you have taken a disciplined approach to how you use your time? If you’re an HR That Works Member, take advantage of the Time Management Training Module.
  • Follow through, rather than talking big and doing nothing. It’s far better to get something done and then publicize it afterward, than to brag about what you will do and then trying to justify why you failed to deliver. As the saying goes, “Under-promise and over-deliver.”
  • Take risks. This is a real challenge for the HR community. Having coached many HR executives, I can tell you that most of them tend to follow the rules, rather than taking risks. I encourage you to read Orbiting the Giant Hairballby Gordon MacKenzie. By the way, the term “hairball” refers to company policies and procedures — something that HR is great at developing.
  • Think like a learner. Whether it’s from mistakes or study, life is one big learning lesson. To earn more tomorrow, you must learn more today. This holds true for both the individual and the company as a whole. To what degree are you enhancing your education?
  • Rely on character, as opposed to talent. Having integrity, doing what you said you were going to do, when you said you were going to do it, shows character.
  • Never stop growing. Don’t let yourself get comfortable for too long. You’re either growing or you’re fading. How would you describe what’s going on with you? Where do you have to coax, encourage, and inspire yourself to take the next step toward your growth?

None of this should come as news. It’s about taking action! As Maxwell reminds us, “Growth doesn’t just happen — not for me, not for you, not for anybody. You have to go after it!”

©2012 Reprinted with permission from HRThatWorks.com, a powerful program designed to inspire great HR practices.