As a Coach and a Consultant I meet a number of people in the Industry. I am very happy to note that many of the youngsters that I meet are interested in improving themselves and learning more. They want to speed up the progress in their Career. Some of the youngsters want to pursue higher Education and they will have to decide what is the type of Education that they should get in to. There are many other youngsters who would have completed their Post Graduate courses or decided not to go for Post Graduate courses. This group are looking to improve themselves with Self-help type of Books / Resources.
There are many resources available for Self-help / Self-Improvement. Actually the problem now is one of ‘Plenty’. The Youngsters would do well to follow a structured process to improve themselves and ensure they achieve their Life Goals. Otherwise they would keep themselves busy, accumulate a lot of knowledge and Qualifications. No guarantee whether they would be happy and whether they would be achieving their Goals in life! (Provided they defined some Goals).
I am suggesting a simple process to pursue this Self-Improvement Process.
01. Define Goals:It is very important to spend some time on reviewing how their Career is shaping up and whether they are happy with the way it is happening. This can not be left to chance. I suggest one pays attention to the following regarding setting up of Goals:
a. What do you want to be in the next 10 years?
b. What progress should you make in the next 2 years in your Company?
c. What are the Financial Goals?
d. Bring down what you want to achieve to what you have to do this month / this week / today / tomorrow. This clarity is needed.
e. It helps to write down the Goals as that would give a chance for yourself to review the Goals as well as share with someone for feedback.
02. Learn How to Learn:I notice that most of the Working people have forgotten ‘how to learn’. Learning is easy in College. They are able to learn as there is a good structure for the Education. There is a Syllabus, there are class room sessions, there are practical labs etc. But, what is the structure for Learning once out of College? This is the reason the Learning attempts fail more often than not. Everyone wants to start a new good habit on Jan 1st. They start and then it collapses even before Sankranti / Pongal / Lohri is over around 14thof Jan.
One needs to understand how Human Beings can learn efficiently and then formulate a good structure for their own Learning.
03. Agenda for Learning: One needs to understand what are the various Broad topics for learning. Some that come to my mind are:
a. Behavioural Skills:To become a better Leader, one needs to learn some Behavioural Skills. If you are working in a Company that has a Leadership Model and Leadership Skills, that can be a good beginning point as you have to become effective in the job that you are currently doing.
b. Functional Skills:To ensure your Self-Efficacy in your job is good, you need to pay attention to the Skills that are needed to become a good Functional Leaders. A Quality Head has to learn about Quality tools. A Production Head needs to learn about Lean and so on.
c. New Technology / Developments:I see that most of the Working youngsters are not even reading News Paper regularly. Many of them are not aware of the developments in the World like Industry 4.0 or Technology in the Industry that they are working in. One needs to have an agenda for learning in this area.
04. Allocate Time for Learning:The biggest problem that a Youngster would have while working is, to find some time for improvement. Everyone is spending long hours at work and they don’t have time to even take care of their health.
The first step to improvement is to acknowledge that this is not the right way of living and one should get control over of his/her time. Once you decide that you will allocate time for improvement, it will happen. There is no value for anything that is available freely. If your time at work is unlimited, then there is no Value for it. You would never use the time judiciously.
To become more efficient at your Work, you have to get away from it and do something else. You would come back with vengeance and your efficiency will improve.
It would be good to allocate some fixed time for Learning in a week. Say, every Sunday morning from 10am -12 noon.
If you are trying your best and this is not happening, then it would be good for you to learn about ‘Time Management’ to begin with.
05. Taking Professional Help: Depending on your Learning Objectives, there are many Professional Helps available:
a. Professional Courses in Universities.
b. Online Learning – Free and Paid. Try Lynda.com, Udemy.com, Stanford.edu and so many other Online sites available.
c. Executive Coaches to guide you personally.
d. Leadership Programs that suit your objectives. But, attend only those where personal help is available. Just by participating in a program, you can’t develop. You would need personal help.
06. Peer Groups:Peer Groups can help in a big way in Self-Improvement. Identify a few Friends who are serious about Self-Improvement. At best the topics for improvement may match and you can keep meeting periodically / exchange learnings and collaborate. At Worst, you may just interact with the others so that you can get motivated and motivate others.
There can be many more ways of Learning towards your goals. One need to start and then keep improving your methods continuously.