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PBM 101: Employee professional development – where to start

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PBM 101: Employee professional development – where to start

In this Principle Based Management 101 series, we’re unpacking mental models, ideas, and tools you can use to level up your work.

This article was previously published by Stand Together Foundation.

Principle Based Management™ provides a holistic approach to making decisions, solving problems, and creating value for individuals in your community, team members in your organization, and society at large. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​It is rooted in proven principles that have fueled the ongoing success of Stand Together and our partners. In this Principle Based Management 101 series, we’re unpacking mental models, ideas, and tools that you can use to reach the next level in your work.


In Principle Based Management, professional development is an individualized, intentional effort by each employee and their supervisor, rather than a one-size-fits-all template.

Where to start?

Professional development is a journey of continual personal transformation. Help your team own their personal transformation by working to deepen their understanding of growth as a continual journey, outlined below.

Personal transformation begins with fostering contribution motivation

Contribution motivation begins with the idea that one can change and improve. When you are contribution motivated, you seek to discover, develop, and use your innate abilities to succeed by helping others improve their lives. You are energized by creatively getting results, contributing to a life of meaning.

Personal transformation happens through discovering, developing, and applying your gifts

Discovering your gifts

Constantly explore through trial and error what your true aptitudes are—what you naturally do well. This includes understanding what you are not good at and acknowledging your limitations. Use this knowledge to pursue whatever you enjoy that will enable you to contribute to others. The more you can articulate your gifts, the easier it will be to find and develop roles that best fit who you are and that maximize your contributions.

Developing your gifts

Developing your innate gifts into valued skills is key to establishing a virtuous cycle of mutual benefit. Apply your gifts by learning the relevant knowledge and skills that will help you be successful. Continual effort, reflection, feedback, and trial-and-error is required to create sustained change and improvement. No matter how much you achieve, remain dedicated to lifelong learning. Don't let success destroy your initiative or willingness to embrace change—and don't let failures cause you to give up.

Applying your gifts to contribute

As you continually develop and grow, you become more fully equipped to make meaningful contributions to a broader mission and vision. Learn how to develop your strengths alongside the strengths of others to contribute to organizational success.

Personal transformation is guided by striving toward a purpose

The better you understand what is deeply motivating to you—in addition to understanding your gifts—the better you'll be able to find and craft roles that are mutually beneficial, where you can magnify your contributions to the organization and engage in rewarding work that will help you grow as a person.

Learn more about Principle Based Management and how it can help you transform your results.

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