I found this article lists down the handy steps that can be applied to my learning plan.
- First, decide on a skill you want to develop. Choose wisely by identifying a skill that’s valued in your organization. Human Resources can tell you if your company has a competency model or career ladder, which describes the most important knowledge, skills, and attributes for a given career path. In the absence of an official list of competencies, ask for ideas from your manager or your colleagues about the skills that would be most vital for you to develop. I highly recommend choosing only one — make it a meaty one — and then using it as a theme that will carry you through the year. Some examples might include becoming a more strategic thinker, improving communication skills, or enhancing your presence and personal brand.
- Second, do some research on the skill you’re trying to develop. You can find blogs from subject matter experts on almost any topic, not to mention a nearly infinite supply of YouTube videos. All told, you have a lifetime of learning at your fingertips. Find spare moments to read up on the skill and keep a folder where you can begin to classify the skill into different subcomponents. For example, if you are working to improve your communication skills, your research might reveal that communication can be broken down into sharpening your ideas and content, clarifying your writing, enhancing your oral communication skills, and improving your listening skills. Whether you want to use old-school index cards or a high-tech app, organize and keep track of what you learn in a way that allows you to drill down several layers into each component. You’ll find that once you zero in on one component, new distinctions will be revealed. For example, oral communication will require that you improve both your verbal and non-verbal presentation.
- Third, set a series of progressive goals. Once you understand the different components of the skill you’re building, choose one and break it down even further. In the communication example, you might decide that the content of your ideas is strong but you struggle to express your ideas in a meeting because you’re quiet. Start by setting your end goal and then work backward to create a series of small but meaningful steps. If you aspire to participate more actively and to have your ideas heard and appreciated by your teammates, start by committing to make one comment in your next team meeting. Once you’ve practiced being more vocal, your goals can evolve to making your points more concisely or getting comfortable disagreeing with someone in a public forum. Create a cheat sheet for yourself with these goals in order and check them off as you accomplish them.
- Fourth, ask a colleague for feedback to get a sense of how you’re doing. Engaging a colleague will accelerate your progress. Tell the person what you’re working on and get some generic feedback or advice from them. Then share your specific goals and ask the person to watch and provide feedback. Don’t make this formal or cumbersome, just a quick check-in. In the communication example, as you are walking into the team meeting, you can say, “I’m working on being more concise. Can you pay attention and let me know how I do?” Then as you are walking out of the meeting, you can get immediate feedback and a few pointers. Occasionally, have a lengthier discussion about what your colleague is observing and what he would recommend you work on next.