Our ability to learn is increasingly becoming the currency on which we trade in our professional lives. Where once we went to work to learn how to do a job, now learning is the job. Companies consider adaptable and proactive learners as assets. Investing in our own learning yields long-term returns in terms of our professional growth and development.
The process of obtaining new knowledge, on the other hand, is not straightforward. The ability to unlearn outdated knowledge, learn new knowledge, and relearn in order to keep up is critical for long-term success. This is particularly true in our increasingly squiggly career trend, in which people change roles more frequently and fluidly, and develop in myriad of different ways.
Because our occupations occupy such a significant portion of our time, energy, and effort, they present the most meaningful opportunities for growth and development. One of the difficulties is that we don’t make deliberate investments in our everyday development because we’re so preoccupied with assignments and getting the work done that we don’t have time for anything else. It’s a risky career move to put less emphasis on our own development. This decreases our resilience and capacity to cope with the changes in the workplace. In order to take control of your learning at work, here are a few suggestions:
The people with whom you spend the majority of your time are a key source of knowledge. Creating a varied learning community will allow you to gain new perspectives on the different subject matter. Utilize your tea break! Engage with someone from another department who may be able to assist you in seeing your organization through a different lens. When you meet with colleagues in your field at another company, they can help you to learn more about their organization and industry.
In order to learn and adapt as you go along, you need to experiment. The possibilities for experimentation at the workplace are virtually limitless! In order for an experiment to be effective, it must be undertaken with full awareness of the consequences and consider it as a learning opportunity. Make sure you record the results of the experiments you are conducting and the lessons you are learning along the way. It’s crucial to remember that when exploring the uncharted, it’s normal for most experiments to fail. That’s just the nature of the experiment. But learning from experiments, even failed ones tends to be more meaningful.
Nowadays, we gain knowledge from one another. Consider how you may develop a collaborative curriculum where you learn from each other as a team. Utilize talent swaps, in which employees contribute one skill they’re willing to teach others. This could take the form of a creative problem solver sharing the techniques and tools they find most useful. Skills exchanges are an excellent illustration of democratized growth, in which everyone has something to contribute in continuous learning.
It is also necessary to unlearn. Unlearning entails abandoning the comfortable and familiar in pursuit of innovation and Promethean. The skills and behaviours that got you here may potentially be impeding you from achieving where you want to go. During the pandemic, we were all forced to unlearn various parts of our lives, such as how we interacted at work or school. Unlearning feels awkward, but the previous two years have shown us how adaptive we can be. It is also important not to forget to relearn after unlearning! This is where unlearning fulfils its purpose.
Relearning means acknowledging that how we apply our strengths is continuously changing and that our potential is always a work in progress. We need to periodically examine our capabilities and how they need to be altered for our current setting. For example, we typically collaborate and work in teams. Now that pandemic hit us with a curveball; we relearned to use Teams (Microsoft) to work in teams in a hybrid world of work. It’s an eye-opener, to say the least!
In the future, we will be unable to predict how our careers will develop or how the world of work will look. Investing in continuous learning will help us become more prepared for the opportunities that change will bring, as well as more resilient to the inevitable challenges we will face along the way.