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How Do We Make Learning in Everything We Do?

Wendy Tan

Author, Keynote Speaker & Managing Partner of Flame Centre | Future Skills Institute

Updated 14 Dec 2022


Learning is like breathing. It happens with everything we do.

In my conversation with a senior leader, we observe the language of people who ask, "I have no time to go for learning." The assumption here is we need to go somewhere to learn. Learning is seen as a separate activity from work; "Go to learn" vs "Learn here and now".

Learning is not an additional thing we do, but it happens in the flow of work; when we try something new, when we observe the impact of our actions, when we entertain new questions, when we debrief projects, when we ask what data we need, or when in conversations with clients or colleagues.

To learn here and now, we need to be intentional about learning and create space for reflection. Here are some ideas on how to make learning in everything we do.

Individual Practices

  • Decide an area of learning that can help you to solve a problem or improve something. Choose something relevant for each week.

  • Cultivate a network of experts on different topics you can consult easily, e.g., via text messages.

  • Read a book or an article every week.

  • Apply or create an opportunity to use what you’re learning.

  • Take notes of your learning and keep them all in one place, e.g., a learning journal.

  • Refer to this learning journal every quarter or end of the year.

  • Share your learning or write a LinkedIn post to consolidate your learning.

Team Practices

  • Amongst your weekly priorities, designate one on learning, so each team member has a learning focus for each week.

  • Learning exchange - once a week, have the team share what they have learned with one another.

  • After each meeting, everyone rates its effectiveness and gives 1 suggestion on how to improve it.

  • After each project or milestone, do an after-action review - what is good to keep and what needs to improve.

  • Once a week, have the team go round robin to give feedback to each other - what I appreciate about you and a suggestion for you.

  • Share links, articles, videos or resources with one another.

Managerial Practices

  • Give positive and constructive feedback to your team promptly and easily.

  • Help them through the structure of reflection using questions:

  • What did you notice?

  • What’s new?

  • What might the other person be thinking?

  • What are the options?

  • What led you to this decision?

  • What if there is a different way?

  • What do you decide to do?

  • What did you learn?

  • Encourage people to ask questions, there are no silly questions.

  • Be curious to ask about the thinking behind one’s comments.

  • Make data easily available so people can see the impact of their work.

  • During discussions, validate and see merit in each other’s viewpoints.

A learning team iterates and finds its way forward in uncertain times. In doing so, new solutions, innovation, and creativity become possible.

Watch this 90s to Thrive video for 3 simple steps to help you get started.

If this topic is useful to you, let’s schedule a chat. Feel free to share this blog with others in your network. Thank you!


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