It’s somewhat cliché to say that learning is a continuous process for everyone. But it’s an exceedingly useful thing to remember, in an age when knowledge and competency is continuously expanding and becoming more in-depth.
Professionals are not exempt from this; in fact, we are expected more than most to take advantage of learning to become better assets to our employers. This is why learning can be considered a major tool for success.
But how does that work? We’ve outlined five different paths you can take while using learning as an engine of success.
Concentrating on the development of a limited number of skills provides an advantage in terms of efficiency and output quality.
When you’ve mastered how to do something, you can do it with minimal time, resource, and effort wasted. Your results will also be of exceptional quality, since you’ve refined your technique or method to the point that errors are nearly impossible.
Mastery is not as effective when tackling unexpected variables, so be careful when applying it to brand-new situations.
When all you need is to perform your primary duties at the highest level, however, nothing beats mastery.
Skill diversification takes a different – and almost opposite – approach compared to mastery.
Learning many different but related skills is a great way to prepare for any surprises. Variables that might seem like obstacles can be handled in out-of-the-box ways. Having a diverse skillset can help ensure that you’re never caught off guard.
The output of a diverse skillset is often not as comprehensive, polished, or cost-efficient as that of a specialized one.
But investing in a multi-faceted arsenal of skills is the perfect way to avoid scenarios where there’s absolutely nothing you can do.
Achieving synergy between things you’ve learned is an effective way to maximize training.
Usually, broader methodologies and particular proficiencies are closely related. When your knowledge of either or both is increased and updated, you can implement it in such a way that there is an overall improvement in the whole system.
For example, broader production strategies are executed using particular proficiencies in operating production equipment and facilities. Improving in these areas will lead to better overall planning, greater capability to meet identified targets, or both.
Use synthesis if you want to get the most out of everything you learn.
It may seem unusual to link most lines of work with experimentation, but it’s actually possible to use this technique for almost any profession.
In fact, it’s actually one of the first things you may use in any situation that’s new to you, including starting a new job.
Experimentation is basically taking what your predecessor or your colleagues have been doing successfully, and applying yourself as the experimental variable. You’re trying to determine if the process and the result will work the same way if you are the one involved in the execution.
It’s a useful way of looking at the nitty-gritty of a situation; whether existing strategies or methods are dynamic enough to be used by anyone. Figuring this out creates opportunities for self-improvement, process refinement, or even both.
Innovation is one of the more advanced paths you can take while learning for success. It involves confidence in your ability to set a new standard.
The basic idea is to build something new from scratch. It can be a procedure, a system, or a strategy. Then, convince everyone to review, approve, and implement your innovation for observation and revision.
What you will gain while doing this is an in-depth and practical familiarity with your organization’s operational cycle, and a solid idea of what results you can achieve using new standards compared with existing ones.
This is a type of learning geared towards aspiring leaders or policy makers. If your long-term goals include advancement and a greater role in your organization’s decision-making, be sure to consider innovation as a possible tool to help you get there.
These are just a few of the paths you can take while learning your way to success. You can also come up with a few of your own that work particularly well for you.
Most professions will make use of each of these methods in different situations, although some are more appropriate for certain roles. Try to strike a balance between them, and maximize your potential for success!