Top 5 Professional Development Takeaways from NextGen

Thanks to GovDelivery’s partnership with GovLoop, I was able to attend NextGen and learn the same invaluable lessons imparted to the next generation of government workers. Here are my top five professional development takeaways from these great two days:

  1. Develop a plan to implement the big idea – Too often, we start with a big, exciting idea, but end up with no progress towards making that idea a reality months later. Any progress is put off because you’re caught up in the day-to-day. Develop a plan to implement your creative idea and always be working towards that “next step.”
  2. Success likely doesn’t come with the first try – While all of the NextGen speakers were accomplished visionaries, few will tell you that their success happened on the first try. Just like all of us, they are no strangers to failure and disappointment. What makes them become accomplished is that they simply didn’t wring their hands and say they’d tried. Find new ways to illustrate your point, tell the story, or creatively convince others of the importance of your results. Tie emotion and imagery to clear and convincing facts.
  3. Start a daily activity to improve – “Practice makes perfect” is a tiring phrase, but this doesn’t make it any less true. Many of the speakers spoke to some sort of daily activity that helps them hone their craft. Write a page a day to improve your storytelling skills. Produce one creative invention a day to keep your creativity juices flowing. Whatever you want to improve on, find some small way to work at it every day.
  4. Ask the right questions – Sometimes we can start a project without having all the details and come to a conclusion far different from what our managers had in mind. This leaves us with a lot of wasted time and frustration. Before barreling into your work, ask your supervisor relevant questions specific to the project or goal without any in-coming bias for a particular action. Different drill downs of the same question could also lead to very different analysis and research for a project. Be clear on what the desired goals or needed outcomes are for every project you work on
  5. Build a network of peers now – A network shouldn’t be built the moment you need it. It has to be developed over time to hold any value. Reach out to your colleagues for collaboration, inspiration, and fellowship today. You’re not the only one who’s had difficulty with a problem or needed help solving it. That person next to you, down the hall, or on GovLoop may have some ideas on how to find a solution. Be active with your peers and build a network worth utilizing in the future.

What professional development tips did you find most valuable from the sessions and speakers? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Kim Truong

Quite a few participants noted in the surveys that they’re inspired to find creative ways to work under constrained resources – make the best of what you’re dealt with!

Samantha Holquist

I think asking the right questions when starting a project is essential! You never want to get halfway through a project and realize you were doing all the wrong things or not doing what your boss asked for!