Building a successful career in loss prevention has always been predicated on the commitment to professional growth and development. Working in a business as dynamic as retail, it is essential that we remain flexible in our methods and progressive in our approach to a global retail market. As the business moves forward change comes quickly, and our skills and abilities must evolve to meet the needs and expectations of a new professional standard.
But true growth must be built on a solid foundation. Especially when we consider the pace of change, we find that success is largely based on the refinement of the fundamental principles that anchor our skills and our decision making. By expanding on our foundation of knowledge, we give ourselves a stronger and more stable base to build upon. We reinforce our futures by broadening our opportunities.
We live in a fast moving world, and both the retail workplace and work force are constantly changing, and changing rapidly. Ideas, information, processes and technologies that seemed to be “cutting edge” not long ago may now appear to be outdated as we continue to move forward at a vigorous pace; and it doesn’t appear as if it will slow down anytime soon. The entire atmosphere of the retail climate is evolving as companies try to keep up with the challenges of a volatile economy and a shrinking world. And if we hope to survive, we have to learn to adapt.
The velocity of today’s business world won’t allow us the luxury of falling behind, and we can no longer assume that we’ll be able to find shortcuts that provide a means to catch up with little effort or sacrifice. We have to commit, and continually work for the knowledge and skills necessary to keep in stride. When it comes to managing our careers through these challenges, each of us is faced with a simple choice: We can stand on the sidelines and watch the parade go by, or we can get out front and lead the way.
As professionals we have a responsibility to practice our trade with a commitment to excellence. In order to do so, we must continuously enhance our expertise and develop the skills that keep us moving forward. Continuing education further provides us with the opportunity to acquire new and necessary information, demonstrate a conscious, self-directed effort toward personal and professional development, strengthen our qualifications for professional growth, meet the changing demands of the business, explore new roles and responsibilities, and responsibly perform the duties entrusted to us by our companies.
Today there is just simply no expectation that we can train for one job (or career) and expect those educational tools to carry us throughout our professional lives. Through continuing education, we allow ourselves the opportunity to learn new approaches to our chosen course of study or specific career path. We can expand our minds and our possibilities into new and exciting areas, stimulating our creativity and enhancing our career options. It provides us with choices, offering a vehicle for change and growth.
Making the Investment
An education is an investment that we make in ourselves; adding value that provides us with many professional advantages. And while the primary benefits may be fairly clear, there are also several other returns on our investment that can be just as significant:
• It heightens awareness and perspective, allowing us to see things from a different point of view.
• The knowledge and information that comes from education is empowering and helps to build confidence.
• It helps to make us more adaptable. By providing different choices it teaches us that alternative ideas and approaches might not only work, but might work even better.
• It demonstrates a level of commitment. It validates our dedication to growth and self improvement.
• An education provides us with options. Expanding our minds will help to expand our professional opportunities.
There are many different methods that can be used to help expand our educational opportunities. But by exploring both formal and informal educational options, we can balance our choices based on particular needs, resources and availabilities. These choices should be made based on individual circumstances, finding a balance that works best for you. In the Loss Prevention profession, you have to grow in order to survive. But if you want to do more than survive, you have to cultivate that growth, and make it count.
Expand Your Limits
When building our educational resume we need to reach beyond the traditional limits of Loss Prevention and expand our learning into other areas of the business—as well as areas beyond the business. When it comes to learning, narrow paths only lead the way to ignorance. By limiting your scope of learning, you’re only limiting your own opportunities. You’re limiting your value and your future. Get creative, and make learning an experience as well as a commitment. You never know what you might find out about yourself.
If information opens doors, education provides the key. Regardless of our particular academic venue, we have to be willing to dedicate the requisite time necessary to complete the program and remain committed to the educational process. We can always find dozens of reasons not to continue our education, but none of those reasons will provide you with the answers that you’re looking for. A commitment to learning drives the commitment to career. Find the vehicle that works best for you, and get the engines started.
By capitalizing on opportunities to enhance our knowledge and education, we are making an investment in our own future. To learn more about developing your leadership skills and the certification process, visit losspreventionfoundation.org.