Improving Your Learning

Sections of this topic

    The focus of the Library is on resources for personal, professional and organizational development. At the core of these is personal development. Without personal development, it’s difficult to sustain professional and organizational development.

    Sections in This Topic Include

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics

    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Personal Development

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs that have posts related to Personal Development. Scan down the blog’s page to see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

    Are You Learning Everyday?

    © Copyright Marcia Zidle

    Jack Nichlaus was asked if there are really talented golfers who never make it. “Oh, hundreds of them”, he replied. “A lot of people out there are more talented than I am and yet, through the years, I’ve passed them by. That’s because I never was satisfied with my game. I was learning new shots every single day.”

    It’s up to you to make sure you are continually improving, growing, and learning every day. It’s up to you to make sure you never go out of style! It’s up to you to take charge of your professional development. Here’s how.

    1. Have a learning perspective.

    Be on the lookout for teachable moments. Approach each learning experience, whether you want to be there or not, with the questions: What can I learn? What one or two things can I take away that I can use immediately? Who else would find value in this learning?

    2. Benchmark your skills periodically.

    Do it at least once a year. For those in a fast moving profession or industry every three months may be required. In other words, what’s in your work portfolio? Is it filled with skills or competencies that are up-to-date and sought after? Or, is it filled with skills which are obsolete and not very portable?

    3. Create a learning plan.

    Pinpoint specific skills and knowledge that you need to acquire or up-grade. Then identify the professional development activities that are available to you. They can include mentor relationships, special assignments at work, in-house and public seminars, professional conferences, on-line courses, university education, books, journals, blogs, etc.

    Are you learning every day?

    I hope so. If not, you may find yourself a professional dinosaur…out of touch, out of skills and out of work. Just as a company invests in its own research and development, you need to invest in your own career growth and development. Remember, as you never outgrow your need for milk, you never outgrow your need for professional development.

    Learn, Grow, Lead: Stand Out In the Crowd

    © Copyright Marcia Zidle

    Is Experience the Best Teacher?

    Yes, says The Center for Creative Leadership. Their research found that a variety of challenging assignments contribute greatly to the building and seasoning of new and emerging leaders.

    However, not all challenges are equal. The ones that will enhance leadership skills are those that:

    Require working with new people or high variety or time pressures. Call for influencing people with no or limited direct authority or control. Involve building a team, starting something from scratch or solving a problem. Demand a “take charge” attitude, quick learning, coping with uncertain situations.

    Choose Your Challenges Wisely

    It’s not necessary to change one’s job to build leadership capabilities. Rather be on the lookout for or request these kinds of assignments, projects or tasks. They are developmental. In other words, they will help you learn, grow and lead more effectively.

    1. Be part of a task force on a pressing business problem
    2. Handle a negotiation with a customer
    3. Present proposal report to top management
    4. Work short periods in other units or departments
    5. Plan an off site, meeting or conference
    6. Serve on a new project / product review committee
    7. Manage the visit of a VIP
    8. Go off-site to troubleshoot problems
    9. Take a board position at a community organization
    10. Be part of the company’s trade show booth team
    11. Redesign a work process with another function
    12. Resolve conflict among warring subordinates
    13. Take over a troubled project and get it back on track
    14. Manage projects requiring coordination across the organization
    15. Supervise assigned office space in a new building
    16. Spend a day with customers and write report
    17. Do postmortem on a failed project
    18. Evaluate the impact of training
    19. Write a proposal for a new system, product, etc.
    20. Interview outsiders on their view of the organization

    Pick one or two of the above professional development assignments that would help you develop your leadership capabilities now.

    Career Success Tip

    You learn on the job every day. But are you learning what you really need to learn to develop your leadership and advance your career? It’s up to you to make sure you’re continually improving, growing and learning. It’s up to you to take charge of your professional development.

    Various Perspectives

    Recommended Articles

    Additional Articles

    Also consider

    For the Category of Personal Development:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.