Continuous Learning: Adopt What You Learn by Doing Stuff

Adopt What You Learn

Adopt What You Learn

Many organizations sponsor professional development classes, or people take brief courses on their own at a local college or online.  With our get-everything-done-now world it may be convenient to drop these short courses into your life, but it is much harder to figure out what to do with what you have learned. The same is true of books or conversations. I have a list of great ideas. Many of them are still waiting to be great for me. But some of them do help me reorient  my work, or change the way I think. But I must make the effort, I must try to incorporate the idea into the way I do things and see if it really works.

I went to a meeting recently where I learned some important ideas I wanted to apply to my business, including some insights out about how best to design a website. I didn’t just send out a list of five ideas people should start doing. I sat down and wrote five e-mails for things like redoing our website, which were turned into projects with accountabilities and commitments for doing things differently. I think if I had just sent out a note about how to make a better website, we would still have the same website. Now, we not only have started implementing those ideas, but we are actively looking for other great practices to apply.

Every one of my direct personnel is required to routinely create a learning and development activity report. Each of them will have to identify a minimum of two areas where learning will be integrated immediately.

I’m trying to get my team to build continuous learning into any change activity. Every one of my direct personnel is required to routinely create a learning and development activity report. Each of them will have to identify a minimum of two areas where learning will be integrated immediately. I think it is essential for a development program to create a mindset in which individuals find applicable learning and actively, and visibly, engage in applying that learning. I tell them to ‘adopt what you learn.’ I don’t want to just encourage passive learning. I want my team to see that their peers are applying learning, and perhaps that will even inspire them to learn more from each other.

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