As promised in our last posting, here are some strategies that
you can use to stay in school while at work:
It may not be stated as a literal responsibility in your job
description, but your company pays you to be an expert. Learning new things and
bringing them to your co-workers and clients is part of your unspoken job
duties. But you need to be proactive to excel in this area. Look for areas in
which to increase your expertise.
Is there something that the boss keeps complaining about?
Research ways to solve it. Do you feel that you and your team could benefit
from more background about a particular client before diving into working on
their business? Take the lead in boning up to learn more, and share what youâ€™ve
learned with everyone who could benefit from the knowledge.
It may have been a while since high school, but you can practice
a more grown-up form of â€œsenioritisâ€ now. No matter what your level in your
organization, youâ€™re probably more senior than some of the other employees in
the companyâ€”and if youâ€™re a manager, this oneâ€™s a no-brainer. Take advantage of
your seniority to delegate when you can, and use junior employees to help keep
you up to speed on various aspects of your business or industry.
If you have direct reports, try assigning each an area of focus to
monitor and become an expert in, and have them present their findings to you
every month. If youâ€™re not a manager, ask around to find out if support staff are
available to take on tasks during downtime. If so, request that they research
areas of interest, and send you links or PDFs based on their findings.
Your Way to the Top
Reading is the essence of
learning. Got downtime? Keep business books, trade journals, and industry
articles on hand to skim during free moments. You can also consider subscribing
to a â€œsummary serviceâ€ like MBA Depot or Get Abstract that provides summarized
versions distilled from the lessons in business books. And donâ€™t underestimate
the power of using a search engine like Google to help point you toward
resources and publications that can help you learn more about your industry.
We all know that what gets scheduled gets done. Donâ€™t wait for
time to free up in your schedule to devote to learning. Instead, dedicate 20
minutes every day to scour three sources of your choice that will help you
become smarter, better, and faster at your job. It helps if the time you choose
for your scanning is the same time every day, to help create a habitâ€”for
example, 20 minutes riding the bus to work, at lunch, or before bed. Commit to
this schedule as you would any other appointment: add it into your calendar as
a repeated event.
When youâ€™re in school, though youâ€™re responsible for taking an
active role in your learning, you donâ€™t have to do all of the work yourself.
You have tools to help you, and increasingly, those tools are based on
technology. In the workplace as well, thereâ€™s an ever-expanding array of tech-based
tools and apps that arenâ€™t just for geeks anymoreâ€”theyâ€™re for anyone whoâ€™s
looking for opportunities to increase their life-long learning.
Curating applications allow you to expand your
information-gathering potential and synthesizing ability. Some apps can even
send you alerts on what’s happening in your business and industry to save you
the trouble of conducting or assigning research tasks.
Apps like Roambi Analytics Visualizer can help you extend your
learning reach by giving you a business intelligence view of corporate data and
key performance indicators. This app, for example, uses dashboard-style
analytics to allow you to analyze and share up-to-the-minute company
information on your iPhone or iPad, and lets you view and interact with your
companyâ€™s latest information.
So donâ€™t use graduation as an excuse to stop learning. To be the
best that you can be in your career, prioritize learning for life.