To the Point

Are You Scheduling Your Priorities?

Don’t let a lack of time prevent you from taking advantage of the right professional development opportunities.

Let’s face it: If there’s a part of your personal or professional life that you’d like to change, there’s no shortage of “experts” willing to sell you a book, a webcast, or a seat at their events.

Some are worth the time and investment, others are not; some will stand the test of time, others will fade away. Stephen Covey — best known as the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People — is the former. His recent death ignited a litany of tributes for this straight-talking leader whose advice is still spot-on today. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People was first published 23 years ago, so Covey may not be familiar to all generations — although I did read recently that his son wrote a version of his best-seller for teens. But before A Whole New Mind and Who Moved My Cheese? hit the best-seller list, and before online TEDTalks and Anthony Robbins’ “Unleash the Power Within” seminars became popular, Covey’s book was a business-management bible, eventually selling more than 25 million copies in 38 languages.

In reviewing Covey’s lessons, I find their focus on our core ideals is even more important in today’s fast-paced and demanding world. Here’s what I mean: “We have such a tendency to rush in, to fix things up with good advice. But we often fail to take time to diagnose, to really deeply understand the problem first.” And this: “There are three constants in life … change, choice, and principles.”

With all the personal and professional advice available today, it’s certainly hard to cut through the clutter. Plus, time to spare is in increasingly short supply. Nonetheless, it’s so important to seek opportunities to foster our professional development. While we don’t need to attend every single event that comes our way or read every line of the latest business book, we do need to keep growing and learning, no matter where we are in our careers.

I look at this as really being in tune with what each of us could use and pursuing only those opportunities that address those needs — and not using a lack of time as an excuse to not take advantage of them. As Covey said: “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

At PCMA, we’re always adjusting our educational offerings to help you where you need it most. We’re developing more targeted opportunities for different vertical markets, and not focusing solely on meeting-specific topics. Based on your feedback, we’re creating more ways to help you build business acumen, develop your leadership and communication skills, and blaze your own professional path. Continue to let us know how we can help.


Deborah Sexton

Deborah Sexton is president and CEO of PCMA.