By Frank Visgatis, President & Chief Operating Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

What was the last book you read to sharpen the saw?I was recently invited to address my son’s high school Accounting/Junior Achievement class to share with them my journey as an entrepreneur. Much to the horror of my kids, I accepted. 

While the talk went well, and I believe was well received, it ended on somewhat of a troubling note.

Toward the end of my talk, I asked for a show of hands as to, “Who reads books other than the books they have to read for school?

Not a single hand, including those of my own kids, was raised.

The following day I spoke at a Sales Kickoff meeting and posed the question, just in a slightly different context:

“How many of you have read in the last 12 months, or are currently reading, a book about sales or business best practices?”

Sadly, the response was the same as those high school students.

As I reflected on this situation, my initial disappointment turned to downright confusion. While I could understand the response from a group of teenagers carrying a huge study load and counting the days until the end of the school year, what excuse does a highly paid business professional have for not continually trying to sharpen the saw?

Who among us are SO smart that we aren’t capable of learning something new that will give us a competitive advantage in an increasingly information-driven world? Not me.

I set a personal goal, albeit one I consistently fall short of, to read at least two books each month that will give me new insights into business, psychology or my own chosen discipline – sales.

Whether it is reading a book or attending a seminar, how many of you invest in your own professional development?

If you aren’t, you should be. 

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman