Early in my career, I was encouraged to undertake an Executive MBA by my then-manager. The qualification was already in my sights, but his gentle prodding convinced me to get it done.
The program was a revelation. It gave me insight into other types of businesses and taught me the importance of weighing different approaches. The MBA also grew my confidence, which made me a more effective worker and delivered a return on investment to my employer.
And it bred loyalty. My manager had taken an interest in my professional development and I was genuinely grateful. I continued to work for the organisation for several years.
In the decade since, I’ve come to realise that encouraging staff to upskill is one of the most important things an organisation and its managers can do. Nurturing talent may take time and patience, but in the end your staff will flourish, and that will benefit them, you, and the organisation.
It needn’t be something as weighty as an MBA to deliver value, either. As long as the training is credible, practically focused and delivered by experienced practitioners, you and your employee will win.
Pathway to career success
I’m happy to say that investing in our staff is baked into the way IPWEA operates. Peak bodies and professional organisations spend much of their time encouraging their members to upskill. But we need to “walk the walk” too by doing the same with our own people.
That’s why IPWEA provides a professional development allowance to all our employees and pays for their professional memberships.
We’re also committed to helping other organisations upskill their staff. It’s one of the key reasons our newly developed Education Pathway for asset managers is structured and delivered the way it is.
The Pathway comprises multiple courses that, when completed in sequence, culminate in an internationally recognised qualification. But employees needn’t undertake the entire Pathway at once, and employers needn’t commit to funding them all the way. In fact, the introductory courses within the Pathway stand alone and are valuable in their own right.
When developing the Pathway, we focused on practical competencies that align with the best practices laid out in industry-standard publications such as the IIMM. That gives students both the “why” and the “how” necessary to improve asset management within their organisations.
Launching the Pathway has been the high point of my time at IPWEA so far because the program aligns with my own belief in the importance of ongoing professional development. I hope the Pathway pays dividends for many of the organisations in IPWEA’s orbit.
In the meantime, I have made a personal commitment to continue sharing this lesson with the people I manage.
Not too long ago, I encouraged a direct report to undertake the same Executive MBA that I completed. It took some cajoling, but eventually she agreed. By the time she had completed the program, she had changed immensely as a professional. It was fantastic to see.
In fact, it was as much a highlight of my career as it was hers.