Building on a recent post… Being intentional about your own leadership development is important. That doesn’t mean responding to every networking opportunity, reading every book in your field, and participating in every course and conference. Eventually the breadth of opportunities that is helpful in expanding your understanding in the beginning must give way to more focused, in depth attention on those areas and resources which will yield the best advancement. I’m at that stage in my role with Catalyst. Having grazed in a somewhat haphazard fashion all around non profit leadership and poverty reduction strategies for a year I know enough to start being more specific and discerning about how I spend my time, energy, and budget. In the next few weeks I’ll be working on an annual plan for my own development that will include a reading list, courses/conferences I want to partake of, relationships I want to build, and topics I need to explore. I can’t afford to be so reactive anymore; it is time to plan ahead. With so many resources available (I just googled “leadership conference 2009” and got 893,000 hits in 0.28 seconds!) deciding what is worth the investment is extremely difficult. Here are a few strategies to streamline your planning: -Choose one person in your field that you deeply respect and ask them what are the most useful resources they’ve found (thanks always Mark and Bridgeway) -Choose one author or organization and only use their materials (hello Malcolm Gladwell in 2009) -Start a small network/book club/lunch bunch/whatever and take turns bringing a resource and summary to share and discuss (anyone want to do one of these in Halton/Hamilton this year?) -look for packaged sets of materials like these from John Maxwell -make sure you occasionally do some intentional learning from way outside your field (I still think about the quantum physics book I read on a camping trip three years ago) Above all, do something on purpose and with purpose. The dreams you want to follow are too important for you to passively wait for leadership to happen to you.