How to pick impactful Practice Development
This article explains the concept of Practice Development and gives some tips for how to make the best of it.
Practice Development is when you contribute to an internal initiative for your company that does not directly impact sales. e.g. Hosting a “lunch and learn” to share your skills with your colleagues or planning a fundraiser for a charity.
Contributing to one of these Practice Development initiatives is a great way to introduce yourself to team mates across your company, open doors to new opportunities, or explore your interests, but it is easy to get the priority of these initiatives wrong or to put all your efforts into Practice Development ideas that don't make the impact you wanted to achieve.
The rest of this article gives tips on:
If you were asked to collect photos for an internal meeting, and you were also asked to prepare a presentation for a client meeting. It would not be acceptable to deliver the photos and fail to prepare the presentation.
It’s easy to make this kind of mistake when starting a new role because each company has different concepts on how you should prioritise competing tasks and people will often seek your attention without fully reviewing your existing or upcoming tasks. So how can you sort what is important and what is not? And where does Practice Development fit into all of this?
Use a list to guide how you treat your work. The following list is an example, yours may look different, and it's important that you develop your own thinking on your priorities based on your company culture and use that to guide where your attention is allocated.
Notice that Practice Development is not ridiculously high on this list, it's important, but not more important than delivering for your client.
With the time you do dedicate to Practice Development, you want to maximise your impact. You can use these questions to help you choose impactful Practice Development opportunities…
Additionally, you might like to avoid the following initiatives that do not often meet the above criteria:
Too many Practice Development ideas are well-intentioned, interesting, and exciting, but ultimately don't lead to meaningful or impactful outcomes because filters like these weren't applied upfront.
I'm hopeful that these tips will help you determine when to focus on Practice Development and which Practice Development idea should get your attention.
It’s a very common situation that you can be approached by a colleague or a leader to get involved in an opportunity or team effort in addition to your daily duties.
If you’re new to a company, you may feel obligated to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes up - which can quickly lead to burnout if done without limits.
Next time you can see this happening, I encourage you to give yourself a pause to consider if the opportunity passes the tests above. Will it be the best use of your discretionary time?
If you determine that you should politely say ‘no’ then you may like to use these phrases:
It is natural and normal to exceed your contribution to a group. You may feel like you’re attending calls but not adding any value. Or the group’s objectives may feel unclear.
One solution may be to organise a private conversation with the group leader and communicate that you would like to leave the group.
You may like to use this script:
You have a directive or an idea that will need a team of people. How can you recruit people to help you?
And how can you do that without accidentally creating pressure for someone else to say ‘yes’?
You may like to use this script: