Professional Development and The Butterfly Effect


To be effective, Professional Development (PD) must be in line with the organization’s values, vision, and mission –  and avoid the butterfly effect.

If your PD has at its foundation the organization’s visions and values, it’s a good start.

However, more is needed. PD must help the organization over time, systematically accomplish its mission. To do so, Professional Development must avoid the butterfly effect.

The butterfly effect is continually landing on the next attractive thing – with the rationale that, well, it’s attractive.

It works for the butterfly.  It is attracted to beautiful flowers: one attractive flower, another attractive flower, another, and so on.

That approach to PD doesn’t work.

“Attractive” should not be the rationale for investing in PD. Professional development must have a purpose – a purpose that clearly demonstrates a year-to-year connectedness – that moves the organization toward the accomplishment of its mission while honoring its values and vision.

The Butterfly Effect is good for butterflies, not so for Professional Development.


About drjstewart

Christian, husband, father, educator, writer, and photographer.
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