We live in a fast-paced world that constantly requires us to reevaluate the way we do business. Everything from starting companies to raising money, building software to marketing products and services requires us to learn new concepts and put our newfound knowledge into practice. However, time is scarce; many feel there is not enough time in the day to complete their work, let alone expand their skill-set. The willingness to learn becomes a “like to do” rather than a “must do.”
In order to succeed and bring continued value to the organization, employees must make the choice to overcome these obstacles. Why? Because in business, there is one inherent truth – in order to stay relevant, whether collectively as a business or as an individual, you must always be learning.
Here are several tips on how to overcome the barriers to learning:
Find your “Learning Language”
Everyone learns differently. Are you a visual learner or are you more hands on? Find the way that works best for you and translate what you are trying to learn to that format. If you learn best by reading, highlight, make notes and go back and review what you highlighted or noted. If you learn visually, find a video (there’s a reason Youtube is the second most popular search engine). Whatever the method, identify your learning language and actively seek ways to learn in your preferred format.
Good learners are never satisfied. Their curiosity drives them to learn more, experience more and become stronger assets to their employers, clients, and customers. They view questions as opportunities for growth, not barriers. In fact, your brain likes curiosity; research shows that people find it easier to learn about topics that interest them. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. A recent study showed how curiosity not only helps students with academics but also helps employees be more engaged in the workplace. According to Dr. Sophie von Stumm of the University of Edinburgh, “It’s easy to hire someone who has the done the job before and hence, knows how to work the role…but it’s far more interesting to identify those people who have the greatest potential for development, i.e. the curious ones.”
Become Collaborative (and Stay That Way)
It’s no mystery, collaboration in businesses and organizations results in greater engagement, accomplishments, innovation, and results. It also fosters an atmosphere of learning that is beneficial not just for you as an individual, but for the company as a whole. Collaborative team members come from different departments in the organization. By bringing different ideas to the table, team members learn from one another and develop an effective plan to fulfill company goals.
Share Your Knowledge
Unless knowledge is shared, it’s lost. Good learners can explain what they know in ways that make sense to others. They are not inhibited by complex terminology and language. They can translate, paraphrase, and find examples that make what they know meaningful to other learners. They are connected to the knowledge passed on to them and committed to leaving what they’ve learned with others.
The speed of change in the business world is increasing at an astounding pace. There is always something new to learn. We must find a better solution than the one that worked before. We must find our learning style, share what we know, discuss what we don’t, and make the deliberate choice and commitment to continue learning.