You sometimes have vaguely disquieting thoughts about whether you are adequately prepared to move up. And you are right to have such thoughts. When you move up the ladder, you meet different and larger challenges. No matter how well you are handling your current assignment, you will be handicapped if you do not devote some time, thought, and planning to your self-development, to what is coming next.
Instead of stuffing trade material in your briefcase, clip articles for insertion into a simple filing system, so that you can retrieve them. Otherwise, when you need the article, you’ll remember that you read about the subject but won’t remember where. Your file should contain articles that have an immediate bearing on your business and other issues that interest you, even though, at the moment, they seem to have only peripheral value in running the Operation.
You should try to read at least one book per month. When you find a book that is especially provocative, look for a bibliography in the back that will steer you to similar books that can help you in your self-development.
Do you belong to a trade or professional association, to use two examples? If you haven’t been attending meetings lately, start again. Take notes. Buttonhole speakers during the breaks and ask questions.
Continue your education
The proliferation of adult education courses makes this much easier than it was a decade ago. Don’t look for subject matter that is too closely allied to your own field and what you are doing now. You need to stretch your boundaries, become a better-rounded person.
Work on an organizational problem
Pick a major, unsolved problem in your organization or industry. Try some new approaches to it. You may find an answer. But even if you don’t, you’ll be training yourself in analytical and problem-solving disciplines.