In today’s rapidly changing business environment, learning new skills are necessary to stay relevant. Regardless of what your role is in a business, you will very quickly go backwards if you are not continuously growing and evolving.
The list of new skills required to succeed globally is long but the most in-demand are:
• Turning salespeople from order takers to business people who sell
• Turning leaders from the star player to head coach
• Turning managers from task-focused to team-focused
• Turning administrators into business analysts
It may seem easy to learn any new skill, but we fall short most of the time because of challenges that appear amid the learning process. With that said, here is a list of the 10 key issues we see when learning new skills and how to address them.
1. Too much theory, not enough practice – While it is important to understand the theory/background to a new model or approach you are learning, it is more important to apply it to a real life situation so you can quickly learn what works and what doesn’t in the field.
2. Get the context right – Before starting any sort of training experience, spend the time to outline ‘why’ it is required in the context of your personal or business vision (and strategies). This will assist greatly in ensuring it’s completed properly and applied quickly in the business.
3. Fear of failure – This is very often one of the biggest hurdles to adopting new skills. The saying often comes to mind that fear stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real,” so realize that very often all these thoughts are just irrational beliefs raising in your head.
4. Fear of success – It sounds strange but very often business leaders/owners hold themselves back due to the extra pressures and lifestyle changes that may come with increased success.
5. Just-in-time learning – Take an online course or an ‘e-learning’ solution when you find yourself in a situation where you need a new skill to solve a problem right now. Often, these courses will feature videos from leading experts from around the world to help you get up to speed and apply instantly to your learning need. A great, just-in-time solution.
6. Ensure the learning is customized to your needs – Most courses in the market are very prescriptive by nature but also take on board the experience of the person or their desired objectives to build a learning experience tailored to the specific needs of the individual.
7. Before and after the learning – Before you learn a new skill, ensure you define at the start a clear definition on ‘why’ you are going through the training and upon completion, allocate time to de-brief what you are going to do to start applying the new skills. ‘Doing’ the actual course is only a small part of the learning journey.
8. Retaining your new skills – Those that attend a face-to-face course forget 90% of what they have learnt 24 hrs after the event, which is a lot of wasted time and energy to only retain 10% of what you learnt. So what are your options? E-learning provides the opportunity to continuously go back via an online platform and review the content you have learnt, the videos you have watched to ensure that you continuously re-learn the skills over a period of weeks and months. Retention of learning is dramatically increased.
9. Great Leadership support –Good leadership support will ensure the new skills can be applied quickly, hurdles overcome and time allocated for the development process.
10. No Time – Look for ways to break the training up into smaller, bite-sized chunks allows new skills to be learnt and implemented quickly. Experiment with more a blended learning approach (balance between face-to-face learning and e-learning) and different time-frames (potentially 3-4 hour blocks once a week) to overcome time hurdles and fit into the busy, business environment.
If you or your team are faced with hurdles to learning new skills for yourself or your team think through the issues above and determine those most applicable.
Ask the questions:
• What is stopping you from learning the new skills required for success?
• What are your options?
• What should you do first?
And from there, you can quickly develop 3-4 strategies to overcome each and dramatically improve your ability to change and adapt.