"Intentional learning" is the self-guided, goal-oriented pursuit of relevant and actionable knowledge. It's a mindset that embraces and leverages informal learning opportunities available during the normal course of business.
- Learning opportunities are all around you
- Learning occurs formally or informally
- Learning is a mindset
- Learning is a skill that takes practice
COACHING POINT - intentional learners adopt a growth mindset, believing that their capabilities are not fixed, but traits they can cultivate. They believe in their ability to learn, grow and change. (C. Dweck, Stanford University, 2016)
WHY "INTENTIONAL LEARNING" IS IMPORTANT
- We live and work in ever changing times
- Skills and abilities are quickly outdated
- Formal learning opportunities are few and far between
- It's easy to learn bad habits! Good habits require intentional effort.
- Everyday experiences offer tremendous learning potential
COACHING POINT - your potential to adapt and thrive in this ever changing world is based on your ability to convert every day life experiences into learning opportunities.
EXAMPLES OF INFORMAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
- Trial & error - learning on-the-job
- Watching others - seeing best practices at work
- Listening - hearing how people think
- Collaborating w/others - engaging capable co-workers
- Networking w/others - meeting smart people
- Hard knocks - learning from failure
COACHING POINT - intentional learning is an equal opportunity! It doesn't discriminate. It's up to you to seize the opportunities around you.
INTENTIONAL LEARNING BEST PRACTICES
- Set goals - be specific about the things you want to learn
- Use role models - you don't need 1 person to role model every behavior
- Be curious - don't be afraid to ask questions
- Volunteer - seek experience rich, added responsibilities
- Seek precise feedback - be specific ex. "I'm working on making my point in fewer words. Will you give me feedback on this?"
- Manage up - every interaction w/your manager is a chance to ask questions, volunteer and seek feedback
- Give & take - with co-workers you tend to get what you give
- Embrace setbacks - they're inevitable learning opportunities
- Be grateful - thank and nurture your knowledge resources and facilitators
COACHING POINT - intentional learners are note takers. They view knowledge as power.
- Risk aversion - fear of failure keeps you from venturing outside your comfort zone
- Know it all - your ego prefers being the expert over the novice
- Bashfulness - not wanting to appear incompetent, you hide what you don't know
- Lone wolf - learning in isolation may help you save face but it takes longer!
- Defensiveness - fragile egos justify and rationalize instead of listen and learn
- Competitiveness - your competitive nature and pride keeps you from learning through collaboration
- Procrastination - competing priorities and responsibilities make it easy to kick the can down the road
COACHING POINT - people that dominate conversations learn little. Active listeners that guide the conversations through questions learn a great deal.
HOW TO START
- Focus - prioritize your learning objectives
- Start small - incremental learning is best
- Scout learning opportunities - think about your typical duties, meetings, calls and interactions that offer learning potential
- List resources - think about co-workers/peers/friends that might have experience and/or expertise of value
- Ask for help - ask your manager/HRBP for input and guidance
- Plan - use your "to-do" list to highlight learning opportunities
- Activate - when taking notes (during meetings, calls, etc.) have a section entitled "observations"
- Reflect - when you evaluate your day, ask yourself "What did I learn today?"
COACHING POINT - learning is a reflexive habit that takes repetition to become second nature.
"Scientia potestas est" (Latin) for "knowledge is power"
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