You have probably heard this many times in your academic, professional, and personal life: in order to learn a new skill, reach a new goal, or make big life changes, you must want it. Learning new things, especially ones that are technology-related, becomes much easier when the learner is engaged and excited. But the desire to learn is something we cultivate, it’s not something that just exists within us 24/7. So let’s talk about intentional learning, as well as some tips for keeping your teams and employees motivated.
Intentional Learning Is a Career Advantage
Most often you hear things like, “This is the way we’ve always done it, and it works,” or “I don’t see what the big deal is, [insert new process or technology] isn’t going to save us much time or work, so what’s the point?”
While it’s frustrating for team leaders and managers to hear this feedback, it makes sense.
Many people have a tough time learning new skills and topics. You know what we’re talking about: there are very few people who, when presented with a new technology or process at work, dive in enthusiastically and would prefer continuous changes in their workflow.
Reskilling and upskilling are becoming more and more instrumental to professional development and career learning. Because of the heavy emphasis on digitization and online solutions, we are in the midst of a global reskilling emergency – more than one billion jobs have been transformed by technology – and our best tool to overcome these obstacles is intentional learning.
You learn something new every day. And intentional learning is all about looking for those learning moments in every experience – every conversation, Zoom meeting, every new project or technology can offer opportunities to learn a new skill or technique that you can use in the future. There are tons of tips and tricks for priming your staff and your own mind to be more receptive and intentional when it comes to learning new things in your professional area.
Address Your Mindset & Foster Curiosity
Your mindset is a powerful motivator, for better or worse. Whether you head into a situation with a positive mindset (“This will be a great opportunity to get to know my team’s objectives”) or a negative one (“Great, another meeting that should’ve been an email”) – you’re right.
When you make a conscious effort to keep your mindset hopeful and curious, you’ll find yourself seeing more and more moments that can elevate your knowledge or expertise on a topic. Instead of taking a lecture or class material at face value, try asking questions and priming your mind to identify ways this new information could help or change how you’re working. We live in a world full of life hacks, why not rewire your thought processes to find them yourself? Not only does it help you become more efficient or effective in your role, it can also boost your confidence and banish negative feelings around learning new things at work.
Set Small, Well-Defined Goals
The professional world is full of niche and nuance, so your goals should be too! If you are trying to get your teams to start utilizing new technologies, you should be setting attainable, bite-sized goals that will help your teams master different functions within the new technology. You never start a personal health journey by saying, “I’m going to do 3,650 pushups” or “I will spend 65 hours on the treadmill” – you break that down into manageable chunks, in this case, a mere 10 pushups a day, or one to two hours of treadmill time per week.
Setting small, well-defined goals is a great way to help you master new concepts quickly, and to keep you motivated throughout the journey.
For example, Meet Me In The Cloud’s 6-step methodology for achieving technology adoption is broken down into smaller chunks, which are centered around meeting incremental goals in regards to strategy, training, and program completion in an effort to keep that progress moving forward.
Seek Specific Feedback
Feedback is a difficult, but necessary, part of every professional and developmental journey. But it’s much more than just asking “how did I do?”
After you’ve set those definable goals, you can foster accountability and self-review if you ask for specific feedback. If you are working on your public speaking or presentation skills, your “how did I do” question could be something like “I’m trying to rely less on my notes and speak directly to my audience, can you tell me if you see improvement in the next few meetings?” or “I tend to say ‘um’ a lot. I’m going to focus my preparation to include more natural pauses so I can eliminate those filler words, can you tell me if you notice a difference?”
Seeking more specific feedback will not only give the learner something that feels more tangible to work on and improve, but it also gives anyone evaluating them a better metric by which to measure their progress.
Training & Education Are Designed to Inspire
People need to be excited about the benefits of the technology they are learning to use. And fostering intentional learning practices is in the best interest of your employees and your long-term company goals. That’s why you need engaging, data-driven training and education to help reach full technology adoption. Meet Me In The Cloud wants to help you get there.