What if you could learn something new every day?
It's been quite a year. We've all probably learnt a lot about our business, about our teams, and about epidemic curves.
But how has your professional learning been? As we look ahead to a new year, thoughts often turn to fresh goals and personal development, but it can be hard to keep the momentum up as life kicks in. The key could be to make learning part of your everyday routine.
Here are some ways you can make every day a learning day:
Set some goals
Every day learning won't happen by chance, you'll need to set some goals to really embed it. As Daniel Pink says in Drive, “Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy." So whether it's new habits, new connections, or new approaches, if you set your learning goals yourself, you're more likely to stick to them.
Learn from others
It's likely that you're surrounded by people with knowledge, insight and great habits, but when you're caught up in the day to day you can miss opportunities to learn from them. In your daily interactions try to ask yourself 'What can I learn from this person?', 'What can I learn about this person?', 'How can I use this insight?'. Ramp up your curiosity and your team, your clients, and your community are all great learning sources.
Mix things up
When we do things the same way, at the same time, we slip into autopilot. Experiment with new ways of working – it could be anything from different meeting formats, new presentation tools, getting new combinations of your team together for different projects. You’ll not only learn new skills and approaches, but you’ll shift your mindset to be more open and agile to new ideas and perspectives.
Embrace being challenged
It’s the same with the people we surround ourselves with. We tend to seek out colleagues, friends and connections who share our views and approach. But it’s often the people who challenge us who can help us to learn. It could be someone in the office who is at a totally different career stage, it could be an MD with an alternative approach to their business culture, or someone who is led by a very different purpose to yours. Connecting with people who see the world differently, who have different skills and expertise, can help you get new perspectives on the challenges you face and learn new ways of doing things.
Get T shaped
Tim Brown the CEO of IDEO encourages his team to become ‘T shaped’, that is to go for breadth and depth in your learning but alternating between soft skills and technical skills. Building your technical skills deepens the roots on the trunk of the ‘T’ and then when we explore yourself to softer skills like collaboration and resilience you build out onto the horizontal limb of the ‘T’. This approach can make you a more flexible and agile learner and thinker.
Track your habits
Habits are great at helping us do things quicker, but they can cause blocks and blind spots. The things that you think are making you efficient could be holding you back from trying different approaches because you’re automatically making mental shortcuts and default decisions. Tracking and testing the things you do by default could help you learn new and better ways to do things. Pick a few things that you always do in the same way and try to deliberately unlearn them – if you always kick off meetings, see what happens when you take a step back, if you start every morning sifting emails, try something different.
Test your strengths
Take some time to reflect on the things that you do well and then try to test your strengths in new situations. Using your strengths in different ways means you will continually develop your skills and learn new ways to apply them. If you’re a great speaker put yourself forward for more conferences, if you’re great at strategy consider applying to be a board member of a charity or community organisation, if people management is a strength explore if you could become a mentor to up and coming talent in your sector.
Get the right support
To learn and grow sometimes you need a guide - someone who can help you align your personal and business growth goals. On Beyond, our latest Gather programme, you'll get just that. An experienced executive coach who will help you identify areas of growth that will help you become a better leader. Whether you want to be more resilient, balanced, insightful, or supportive, a coach can help you clarify development points and put in place an action plan you can implement every day.
Executive coaching is just one part of the Beyond programme. If you lead a team and think your business could benefit from 6-months of dedicated support, focused on your specific challenges and opportunities, you can access the programme for free if you apply before the 21st of December.
Find out more about Beyond and the executive coaches who could support your learning journey here.