At Vantage Point one of our values is being a living laboratory. We test things out and share the results with YOU: our wonderful not-for-profit clients, supporters, and community.
This year, we tried and tested…. Team Professional Development (Pro-D) days!
Our Pro-D Days are focused on self-directed learning. There are now so many free and affordable avenues to learn new skills and we wanted to make the best use of these resources. It can be tough to find time to read a book or go through a video course, but ultimately this time can make us more effective!
The Pro-D Day Format
To date, we have held three Pro-D Days with one every two months. We plan them far in advance, so the team has plenty of notice. Each staff member chooses a topic ahead of time which will support them in their role. The topics range broadly. Team members have covered everything from reading about alternative board governance to better understanding software integrations.
At the beginning of the day we meet as a group and briefly share what we plan to spend time on. Then we split off to find a quiet place to read or watch tutorial videos for the morning.
After lunch we meet again to share what we learned. Each team member has two minutes to present some highlights. This share-back component holds us accountable to the topic we shared in the morning. After the share-back meeting staff have the option to use the rest of the day to do more Pro-D or go back to a normal working day.
This format works for us, but of course there are many ways to organize the day. The key is finding something fitting your team! And if you work on your own, team up with some of your friends or work contacts to host a Pro-D day.
What We've Learned
We are still fine-tuning our approach and our Pro-D days will continue to evolve over time. Along the way, we have learned a few things which can help make the day a success:
1. Choose a team member ahead of time who will facilitate the day and keep the team on track.
2. Set aside the amount of time you would like for the share-back portion (it's easy for people to get excited and take 15 minutes each!)
3. Pay for a team lunch! If it is within your budget, it's a great way to boost morale on the day.
4. Choose a frequency and stick to it. Host the Pro-D Day even when a few team members can't make it, so that it can become a lasting part of your work culture.
If you try a Professional Development Day, let us know! Send us a team photo and how it went to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration - Miranda Maslany; Windmills - Jason Blackeye (Unsplash); Bird at UBC - Owen Yin (Unsplash); Mailboxes - Mathyus Kurmann (Unsplash); Cliff Jumping - Seeze (Pixabay); Droplet on Leaf - Danist Soh (Unsplash); Hiking Trail (BC) - The Bialons (Unsplash); Jumping - Val Vesa (Unsplash)
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