What Did You Learn Today?

January 26, 2015 at 10:30 pm Leave a comment


ObservationsOne of the things that I look for in every position that I take is the opportunities that I will have to learn. I learn through a multitude of sources Рresearch, classroom training, direct feedback but mostly I enjoy learning by observing others. I love to observe others in meetings to learn from their experiences.

Who hasn’t watched a co-worker present something and thought “wow, I admire the way they handled xyz”. Or maybe you have seen someone share information in a way that did not go as smoothly and you thought “if they had just avoided saying abc, they would have had more support from the team”. ¬†Perhaps it was even something that you did that you wish you could do-over different next time.

But for all of the things that I am exposed to throughout a day, the pace of the day can get away from me and I lose out on learning from the experiences that I have encountered. That is wasted opportunity – and after all, if one is not learning from every experience, are you really getting everything out of the situation that you should?

Here are a few steps that I have tried:

  1. Record the observation – at the moment it occurs, write down a few words related to what you are observing. I have a style of note-taking where I have letters in my notes to denote certain things (O-Observation, A with a box – Action Item for someone else, A with a circle – Action Item for myself, L – to remind myself to Listen more and talk less, F – to follow-up with a person on a topic).
  2. End of Day – before I leave at the end of the day, I review my notes and capture my follow-up items including my Observations. I jot them down in just a few sentences.
  3. End of the Week – before the end of the week arrives, I try to spend a few minutes reflecting on the Observations and exactly what it is that I wanted to learn from each of them. I try to find ways to adjust my style to take the learnings into account. For example, if I observed that my peer’s style of email was resulting in faster decisions, I might try to draft a template to re-use so I could try to apply their method and gain the same results.
  4. Teach It – I believe that the best way to learn something is to be required to teach it. If I found that an Observation led to a Learning that I had successfully applied, I might share it with my team or peers.

Many of us spend our days in meetings. Hopefully you are finding that your meetings are productive methods for you to contribute to an effort (“give a little”) but if you take away a few Observations that you can learn from, you have an opportunity to “take a little” value with you as well.

What methods have you used to learn from your own experiences and others around you during the work day? How do you go about applying what you have learned?

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Entry filed under: Career Development, Employee Development. Tags: , , .

Grateful Transformational Leadership

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