How is your learning plan?
Learning: The act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill.
I don’t know about you, but 2015 seems to flying past. Only yesterday were we considering our New Year Resolutions, and here we are, Poof! and it’s the middle of February!! So how are you doing? Are your resolutions a mere figment of your imagination?
Whether it’s a new year, new month, or new week, there is a great opportunity to focus on learning – what has been learned and what needs to be learned – to ensure success in your role, career and life.
A few questions you may wish to consider and answer –
- What have you done in the past that has worked well?
- What have you done well that you should recognize and celebrate?
- What achievement (s) are you most proud of and why?
- Which areas would you like to improve?
- What skills or knowledge are you developing?
- Which new or improved skills would enhance your work performance?
- How will you monitor/measure your learning?
- What are you planning to stop doing, start doing, keep doing, do differently?
- What didn’t work out for you? What were the reasons?
- What is your learning focus going to be?
As well as taking into account your own input, another way to improve learning is to actively seek feedback. This can be from managers, peers, colleagues and even family.
There is a saying in NLP that there is no such thing as bad feedback – there is only feedback. It’s all about taking the learning opportunity from feedback rather than viewing the feedback in a negative light. With this in mind, it’s about taking the feedback, learning from it and making the necessary changes to address any limitations that may be highlighted.
It’s also important to define and look at your learning in a positive manner using positive language. It’s traditional at the end of a year for people to set New Year resolutions. These tend to be framed in negative language – I want to STOP smoking, I want to LOSE weight. It’s not surprising that the majority of these resolutions are never achieved. Success would be more likely if they were set as, for example – I want to ACHIEVE a healthier lifestyle, I want to IMPROVE my appearance by wearing more fashionable clothes.
Once you have decided on your learning targets you may want to reinforce them by setting SMART Goals in order to achieve them.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic Timely
Goals are a way of measuring progress and evaluating the effectiveness of your actions. If you do not reach your goal by your target date, it is an opportunity to look and see if:
- You are truly committed to that goal
- The actions you have taken are appropriate
It is also important to set goals that are compelling and will allow you to stretch and grow. These goals are more than a glorified to-do list.
There are a number of other factors that need to be taken into consideration around goals, objectives and on-going learning, particularly as business and personal circumstances/situations constantly change and evolve. “A week’s a long time in politics” could be rephrased “24 hours is a long time in business” particularly in the current economic climate. How do you deal with that evolution and change?
Other questions that need to be asked and explored in order to enhance learning include;
- Are your objectives current and still relevant?
- What were the issues in terms of skills, knowledge that prevented you achieving your objectives? Similarly, what were the issues in terms of resources, support, dependencies, blockers, other?
- What do you need to do, or what support do you require to overcome these issues?
- What have you learned that has helped you and could help others?
- How could this learning, knowledge or experience be shared?
- What else do I need to do? Networking? Reading? Courses? Other?
Finally, if you pursue a strategy of learning and improvement for yourself, it might even encourage those around you to do the same thing. Imagine the possibilities if this were to happen!