Think of the most recent training that you attended. Now, are you able to recollect some details about the training? Was it a classroom or online batch? Technical, functional or behavioral? Theoretical with only text or theory with pictorial views or case study based? Assessment based or not? Internal or external? Free or company sponsored or self-sponsored? Manager nominated or self-nominated? Mandatory or optional? — Phew!
The point I am trying to make is that there is a plethora of options to avail training in order to up-skill or cross-skill yourself in any area of consideration. But in the corporate world, can we equate learning with training? Should we? If, in a growing organization, there are not enough planned or scheduled training organised by the learning and development department, does our learning stop? Should we blame the system/organization for not taking care of our learning needs?
For those who might not be aware of the 70-20-10 principle of learning, let me explain it to you first – this principle suggests that 70% of a person’s learning at work is internal and experience-based (on-the-job), 20% comes from interacting with fellow employees (networking and informal conversations) and 10% is the result of formal training and reading (the plethora of options that we saw in the first paragraph). Still the main mode training is always the latter-formal training.
So how does one develop a learning mindset without depending on external factors or an L&D department to provide a platform to learn?
Based on my experience of 16 years in the IT industry and as the Head of L&D at Attra for half a decade, I would like to share six key tips that could help build a learning mindset to achieve continuous learning.
6 Tips To Build A Learning Mindset In Organization
Develop An Open And Receptive Mindset
An open and receptive mindset means the ability to learn from your surroundings and see every situation as an opportunity to learn. One can achieve this by practicing non-judgement and focusing energies to see a positive side to every situation.
If a team member is assigned additional work of her peer, the team member has a choice to consider it as a burden or take it as an opportunity to learn an area of work outside her scope.
Similarly, when a feedback on an improvement area is given to anyone, it is difficult for an individual to consider it objectively without getting impulsively defensive and this in turn hinders the opportunity to correct oneself, learn and grow. A receptive mindset will introspect and take corrective actions to ensure quick learning and growth
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
When we hire graduates in our organization and they are relocated to another city due to project needs, mostly the graduates complain despite agreeing to this clause at the time of accepting the offer. I usually explain them the merit of a mindset shift from seeing the temporary discomfort of relocating to considering the new experiences, work styles, projects and people they would be exposed to.
Being in a role that is above your potential could surely give you jitters and anxiety. And if you always take up roles that are well within your potential, you will be rewarded and praised, but what is in it for you? It would limit your growth and learning. Thus, it is important to constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to put yourself outside your comfort zone to go that extra mile in your career
Learn To Handle Failures
Most opportunities are lost because of our fear of failure or rejection. We do not try enough or avoid taking works that we feel we will not be able to do 100% right.
Once we are more self-accepting and when we practice the ability to handle failures, the learning expands. We have to continuously tell ourselves that it is fine to make mistakes when you are venturing into a new area. A mistake committed will only help you gain a first-hand experience about the whole aspect and prepare you to prevent it the next time.
Invest In Yourself
It is very unfortunate that in today’s fast paced agile world, we do not find time to invest in ourselves. When I say invest in ourselves, I am referring to our growth and learning. How often do we take a check on our learning in a quarter or half a year or even yearly? We keep doing the tasks and work expected from us. Do we set goals with targets or a list of things we would like to learn and acquire? Are we ready to make monetary and time investment to learn?
When I was running the L&D function, most employees would come to check with me if a particular certification cost will be completely reimbursed by the organization. Only if it was they would think of enrolling for it and getting the certification. My argument is that if you feel you must take a training program or certification for your personal or professional growth, you should go ahead and enroll regardless of whether it is sponsored by the company or not.
I am a voracious reader but had always limited my genres to a specific few. Only when I opened my mind and took effort to read a few books in new genres, did I learn to appreciate them and broaden my learning.
I only wish I had learnt this lesson early on in my life. I am still working on it but I realize the importance of seeking help. If you are observant and appreciative, you will realize there are so many people around you with expertise or knowledge about a lot of things that you could acquire if you reach out for help.
A theory says that when you seek out for help, the helper is invested in you and will be ready to help subsequently too.
So, go ahead and seek help from others.
Share Knowledge/Be A Mentor
“Knowledge is power” is a well-known and widely accepted phrase. But the truth is that knowledge has no value till it is shared. I personally love sharing all my experiences and knowledge to whoever is ready to take it (sometimes might come as unsolicited advice. I realize that when I share my knowledge or experience, it not only polishes my own knowledge (more like a revision), but also gives me a few insights or alternative viewpoints that I might not have considered otherwise. Being a mentor to someone also keeps one motivated to be on the path of learning.
Once you build a learning mindset you will realize how learning is available all around – it only needs an open mind and a willing heart to identify the opportunities, seize them and begin the continuous journey of learning!