Staying up to date on trends and issues in your industry is imperative to effective leadership. Setting aside time in your schedule to listen, read, and think is a great justification of #ExecutiveTime and below are a few ideas about how to maximize this time.
I get emails about free webinars all of the time and I am sure you do too. I register for them knowing full well that I will not be glued to the screen during a live webinar but counting on the fact that producers will send a link to the recorded version. The only flaw in my plan is that I never have time to listen to the archived content.
I admit that some of my favorite podcasts cover true crime and political scandals but there is a podcast on every topic. They are everywhere and accessible on almost every device and make for great listening during executive time or while trying to stay calm in traffic.
Reputable articles published by established leaders or associations are free and zipping across the internet. Registering for newsletters from industry associations or simply following thought leaders on LinkedIn can ensure that information is delivered to your inbox.
Conferences and Seminars
Last week, I received notification that registration for a national conference that I typically attend is now open. This year, they are offering a variety of virtual attendance options that make attendance cost effective considering many target participants work for small nonprofits. These virtual options make it possible for me to attend the keynote address and designated workshops from within the glorious white walls of my office instead of the loud and raucous convention center in New Orleans.
Of course, I would prefer to attend the conference in person but virtual options allow me to tap into the knowledge and future direction of the work for $1500 less than traditinal attendance will cost. For those of us who believe that being frugal is a virtue; the a la carte participation options provide a bonus.
It is a weird acronym for one of the best, free, development mechanisms to ever be invented. MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses are free (typically) online courses available to the public. Courses include videos, readings, and discussion forums on various topics.
The thoughts captured in e-books can be innovative, controversial, and sometimes even bizarre. In most cases, they are free in exchange for a little contact information and can challenge your thinking.