Improving Your Learning
The focus of the Library is on resources for personal, professional
and organizational development. At the core of these is personal
development. Without personal development, it’s difficult to sustain
professional and organizational development.
Sections in This Topic Include
Related Library Topics
Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Personal Development
In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs
that have posts related to Personal Development. Scan down the blog’s page to
see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the
sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in
the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.
© Copyright Marcia Zidle
Jack Nichlaus was asked if there are really talented golfers who never make
it. “Oh, hundreds of them”, he replied. “A lot of people out
there are more talented than I am and yet, through the years, I’ve passed
them by. That’s because I never was satisfied with my game. I was learning
new shots every single day.”
It’s up to you to make sure you are continually improving, growing, and
learning every day. It’s up to you to make sure you never go out of style!
It’s up to you to take charge of your professional development. Here’s
1. Have a learning perspective.
Be on the lookout for teachable moments. Approach each learning experience,
whether you want to be there or not, with the questions: What can I learn? What
one or two things can I take away that I can use immediately? Who else would
find value in this learning?
2. Benchmark your skills periodically.
Do it at least once a year. For those in a fast moving profession or industry
every three months may be required. In other words, what’s in your work
portfolio? Is it filled with skills or competencies that are up-to-date and
sought after? Or, is it filled with skills which are obsolete and not very portable?
3. Create a learning plan.
Pinpoint specific skills and knowledge that you need to acquire or up-grade.
Then identify the professional development activities that are available to
you. They can include mentor relationships, special assignments at work, in-house
and public seminars, professional conferences, on-line courses, university education,
books, journals, blogs, etc.
Are you learning every day?
I hope so. If not, you may find yourself a professional dinosaur…out of touch,
out of skills and out of work. Just as a company invests in its own research
and development, you need to invest in your own career growth and development.
Remember, as you never outgrow your need for milk, you never outgrow your need
for professional development.
© Copyright Marcia Zidle
Is Experience the Best Teacher?
Yes, says The Center for Creative Leadership. Their research found that a variety
of challenging assignments contribute greatly to the building and seasoning
of new and emerging leaders.
However, not all challenges are equal. The ones that will enhance leadership
skills are those that:
Require working with new people or high variety or time pressures.
Call for influencing people with no or limited direct authority or control.
Involve building a team, starting something from scratch or solving a problem.
Demand a “take charge” attitude, quick learning, coping with uncertain
Choose Your Challenges Wisely
It’s not necessary to change one’s job to build leadership capabilities.
Rather be on the lookout for or request these kinds of assignments, projects
or tasks. They are developmental. In other words, they will help you learn,
grow and lead more effectively.
- Be part of a task force on a pressing business problem
- Handle a negotiation with a customer
- Present proposal report to top management
- Work short periods in other units or departments
- Plan an off site, meeting or conference
- Serve on a new project / product review committee
- Manage the visit of a VIP
- Go off-site to troubleshoot problems
- Take a board position at a community organization
- Be part of the company’s trade show booth team
- Redesign a work process with another function
- Resolve conflict among warring subordinates
- Take over a troubled project and get it back on track
- Manage projects requiring coordination across the organization
- Supervise assigned office space in a new building
- Spend a day with customers and write report
- Do postmortem on a failed project
- Evaluate the impact of training
- Write a proposal for a new system, product, etc.
- Interview outsiders on their view of the organization
Pick one or two of the above professional development assignments that would
help you develop your leadership capabilities now.
Career Success Tip
You learn on the job every day. But are you learning what you really need to
learn to develop your leadership and advance your career? It’s up to you
to make sure you’re continually improving, growing and learning. It’s
up to you to take charge of your professional development.
Base: Information to Improve Your Leadership Skills.
CareerLab: 700-page career,
outplacement, HR megasite
Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth
Good Personal Growth Quotes
Your Personal Vision Statement: The Beginning of Your Future
Why Johnny Can’t Do the Four Cs
A Look at the Education vs Experience Debate
Twelve Lessons I Learned (or Re-Learned) This Year Part I
Twelve Lessons I Learned (or Re-Learned) This Year Part II
Twelve Lessons I Learned (or Re-Learned) This Year Part III
Final- The Twelve Lessons I Learned (Or Re-learned) in 2011
The Worst and Best Degrees: A Bunch of Bunk!
What does make-up have to do with HR?
Practice til You Make It
Becoming a Peak Performing Leader Through Flow
Terms in Learning
For the Category of Personal Development:
To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may
want to review some related topics, available from the link below.
Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.
Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been
selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.