By Anastasia Pryanikova
Learning doesn’t stop after the graduation ceremony. Most of our learning in life happens informally through conversations, stories, actions and mi stakes. Have you met people who always seem to know how to find an answer quickly, who to ask for advice and where to go for help? The truth is you can be one of those resourceful people. You just have to become an expert at learning-on-the-job. Here are 7 keys to the professional development mastery:
- Build awareness. Don’t be a zombie who operates on autopilot. Be mindful of what is going on around you. There are many things at work that with experience, we can do almost automatically. But in order to learn, we need to pay attention. Get informed about your company, understand its history, the services you provide, markets, processes, culture and politics.
- Embrace the “TEAM” approach to learning: T = Test your understanding; E = Evaluate the results of your test; A = Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current position in light of the results; M = Modify your understanding if needed. Repeat the cycle.
- Reflect. Get into the habit of reflecting on the experiences of your work day. What excited you? What frustrated you? What was the most important thing you learned today? Did you manage your time effectively? How can you improve your work processes? You can come up with your own list of questions and use it as a checklist at the end of the day.
- Be strategic about your professional development. Don’t assume that you will get the necessary training and resources. Develop your personal learning agenda. Identify the skills you will need as your career evolves and set a timeframe for developing those skills. Create a personal curriculum that covers all possible ways and methods for you to learn. When time comes for the conversation with your boss about your professional development, be prepared.
- Seek feedback whenever you can. Constructive feedback can open new learning opportunities.
- Be social. Talk to people. Ask them about their passions and areas of expertise. The more people you know, the easier it will be for you to access information when you need it. Figure out how knowledge flows in your organization. Who generates it? How is it distributed? Who are the connectors?
- Develop a curious mind. A curious mind is inspired, attentive, ready to solve problems and build new connections. It welcomes challenges and envisions possibilities. It is a great mind to have when you want to learn.
Taking control of your professional development is important if you want to build a satisfying career that offers you opportunities for growth and improvement. Are you ready to move forward?