This week Proforest has been embracing the campaign for Learning at Work shining a light on our internal opportunities to learn from each other and develop our careers and personal capabilities at Proforest. Capacity building and training is a key delivery mechanism for us, but internal staff development is equally important. So we are pleased to share a reflective blog by our human resource specialist Hilary Mcdonald (pictured with her rescue dog Stumpy).
As I was thinking about learning at Work week, I reflected that Proforest is an organisation in which learning is an everyday opportunity. There are many formal training options but more importantly every conversation, Teams chat and even the dreaded email, provide us with ideas and stimulus which we can choose to learn from.
I read an article in Harvard Business Review recently (Making Learning a Part of Everyday Work – by Josh Bersin and Marc Zao-Sanders) which talks about the importance of learning and skill development to organisations and individuals and the challenges of time for learning being de-prioritised as we focus all our energies on doing the job. They go on to talk about ‘learning in the flow of work’ which is something I am passionate about and put simply is consciously focusing on what you can learn through every element of your daily work.
I’m going to share a couple of the tactics they suggest and which I try to use to make sure I am constantly learning.
- “Practice metacognition and mindfulness” – this sounds complex but in reality just means pay more attention and look for ways to extract learning, for example in a Teams call,, focus on how others are asking questions or framing their input and consider what impact they have…what can you take away from these observations? Another good tactic is to ask for feedback e.g. when you give a presentation or present an argument. Identify someone in the audience/on the call who you can catch up with for a 2 minute conversation on what went well and what you can do even better next time.
- Keep a ‘to-learn’ list – keep a page in your notepad or a file online where you can quickly capture concepts, ideas etc. that you want to explore. Making a note means you are less likely to forget and gives you a place to go when you have a moment to exercise your curiosity.
The other joy of learning is having the opportunity to share ideas with others. To quote Simon Sinek ‘The greatest leaders…are always learning and sharing what they learn, to help others grow’. We may not all see ourselves as leaders, but I believe this still applies. By paying more attention to our own learning, and sharing with others, we can make every week a Learning at Work week.