Diversify Your Development
The world of work has changed considerably over the last 10 years and even more so over the last two years. The goalposts have most definitely moved. Being effective in your work now and in the future will not be about perfecting a set of static skills. It’s going to be about constantly adapting to change.
Of course, you will need excellent technical skills related to your field of work, your knowledge, deep understanding, and professional expertise will be vital. Exactly what that looks like and how it’s delivered will continue to change. New technology, machine learning and AI will heavily influence how all our work is delivered in the future.
Unless you’re actively learning, staying ahead, being on the leading edge – you will likely be falling behind. The days of relying on your IQ to see you through your career are long gone. Your EQ – the emotional intelligence is no longer an addition, or a nice to have – it’s essential. It’s your ability to learn and keep learning (your LQ) that will form the foundation of your future success. It will stand you in good stead, enabling you to adapt to this ever-changing world we live and work in.
Staying static is no longer an option. The world is changing, and we all must change with it! I believe the best way to change is through embracing a learning mindset. I’m not alone in my thinking. The World Economic Forum states that Active Learning & Learning Strategies will be one of the top 10 skills required by 2025 and that’s just three short years away…
It can be easy to get stuck in a rut with your development. Sometimes we focus just on the obvious stuff. Perhaps it’s the training delivered by your organisation or the CPD courses you need to complete to stay qualified or compliant? Aiming for “done” vs “developed” isn’t going to get you where you want to be. It’s standing in the middle of the curve, not on the leading edge. Ticking it off your to-do list may be joyful in the moment, but is it going to give you the long-term impact on your working life? Is it going to fuel your ambition for the future?
Development is where the magic happens. Learning can be so much deeper, so much broader and SO much more fulfilling than “I’ve done what I was told to”. It can be hard work (for sure), it can also wake up our brains, ignite passion, enable creativity, encourage new connections… the list is endless. The great thing about diversifying your development is that the opportunities are plentiful. They don’t have to be arduous, and you can embed them into your everyday life, rather than adding yet another item to your to do list!
Charles Jennings (a leading thinker in the world of learning) suggests that the formal learning stuff, the classroom or zoom room-based learning, usually only makes up about 10% of your learning time and potential. He suggests that 20% is about learning through others, through the conversations we have with our colleagues, our counsellors, our mentors, our bosses, and our clients. The rest is on the job learning – through our experiences, projects and programmes, our real-life challenges and situations and problem-solving.
I don’t believe we should use this advice literally – because the reality is different for everybody. I find it useful as a reminder to diversify our development. That could mean one week you’re on a course organised by your organisation, the following week you might be at an industry or professional networking event. Next month you could be reading a book or an article, and the following week you’re listening to a podcast or watching a TED talk someone recommended to you.
There are many ways to develop, so don’t limit your learning – explore and experiment – find a combination that works for you and FITS into your life. Just 10 minutes a day of self-led learning gives you the equivalent of five working days over a year. Invest in yourself – you’re worth it!