It helps you gain perspective and also makes sure that you continue to grow.
A book can be a great source of learning. It is an author’s year/s of effort and learning in condensed, portable and easily consumable format. It is a good learning tool for somebody who travels and does not want to spend too much money on learning.
Next in line are live seminars and workshops — both online and offline. During seminars and workshops speakers or a group of experts show and tell things. This is true for both online and offline training programs. This form of training is easy to assimilate. It is potentially more engaging than reading a book because you see things — speakers speaks and often explain things with voice and color — at times using a presentation.
Seminars where you are physically present are unique because there is energy of the group in the environment. Discussions in the hallway are also added to the learning platter. People exchanges notes and the network grows. There is something special about meeting people in person.
You need not go to every industry seminars or read every book on a topic. Just read the ones with good reviews and reputation. Keep your budget and time in mind while you do this.
Further it makes sense to add more elements to your learning mix.
Observe to learn
Authors and speakers get their ideas from books and other seminars; but the ones who stand out bring a lot of their own personality to the book or seminars. They will add what they have experienced and observed during interactions with people, environment or businesses.
You can also add observation to your learning mix. It will help you develop your own way of seeing and understanding things. This perspective will help you innovate at work. You will also be able to add your unique version of seeing things during conversations.
To add observations to your learning mix just start looking around. One requirement of this practice is standing still. Stand or sit and try to understand;
- How people negotiate, the way they speak and assert?
- Why one car maker rules the roads of your city?
- Why one of your neighborhood restaurants mints money and others open and close shop?
Move a step ahead and get into conversations with those you know and also with complete strangers; and truly listen.
Good learning mix can help organizations
Organizations can provide better learning opportunities for their employees by varying the learning mix.
In addition to taking new employees through induction programs; companies can gift them a set of books and suggest these books as essential reading. The books that can be included are “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh and “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini.
There are many great books out there but these are the ones that come to my mind right now. Influence has been working for people for many years now. Hsieh’s book brings a fresh perspective on running a 21st century business.
Employees can be asked to explore on their own about the company — through colleagues, web and company marketing collaterals. New trainees can be asked to write a page on a company’s culture just by observing things. Zappos sees customer service at its core. It makes sure that new employee imbibe this spirit by making time on phone compulsory during training for a new employee at every level. This is experiential learning at its best.
Just see what is at the core of your business and provide learning opportunities aligned with that core.
How will this help?
First it will result in a satisfying learning experience for the participants. Further companies that add elements as shared above in their learning mix will stay competitive. Companies that are constantly learning can stay on top of their game by using the learning to create better products and provide experiences that customers desire.
Ideas for individuals
You and I can use books as a starting point to gain knowledge about new topics. We can further experience different dimensions on the topics by attending seminars. Physical workshops add to this by helping create a network of people interested in similar things. People from such networks can become your partners in learning or become your sounding board.
You can also use this mix for learning if you are thinking to break into a new field.
Guess we have enough info to start. Let us begin then, what say?