“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” – Will Rogers

What was the last training course you completed? What was the last conference you attended? What professional organizations do you belong to?

These are just a few of the questions we ask managers and employees when conducting operational reviews. We want to understand how the organization is keeping up to date with the changes in our industry. And we want to learn if the company is investing in their employees.

Too often, the answers are disappointing. The company has cut the training and travel budgets. Management doesn’t see the value in conferences or associations. There’s too much work, and no time for education.

Occasionally, we meet individuals who’ve found a way around the obstacles and lack of support. They’ve taken responsibility for their own professional development. They pay for membership dues, course fees, and conference registrations with their own funds. They attend association events on their own time.