Posted by: Ornella Farrugia
on Wed 29 Aug

At July’s Innovation Day, we welcomed Andy Wilkins, Senior Honorary Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School. He shared with us his professional insights regarding the importance of lifelong learning and the behavioural processes which can enable us to learn more effectively and ultimately reach our full potential within the workplace and beyond.

“Ancora Imparo” (I’m still learning). This quote by Michelangelo highlights the importance of appreciating learning as a lifelong pursuit. Regardless of stature, experience and intelligence, we all possess an incredible capacity to take on new information and learn new skills. However, how effective are we at utilising these capabilities? And, more importantly, how much do we truly understand about how to enhance our ability to learn?

So, what should we do about that?

To build a truly competitive workforce, every organisation needs:

  1. People who know how to learn;
  2. People with skills in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving and communications;
  3. People who have ambition and self-confidence.

These are the key capabilities organisations want from their future workforce to stay resilient and prepared for a changing world.

Support the learning experience by creating the environment to encourage learning opportunities and motivation to learn in the workplace. A common assumption is that learning is a formal process like classroom-based study. However, whether it be exposure to new experiences or having to respond to unpredictable issues within the workplace, we are constantly learning both explicitly and implicitly within our working lives. Consequently, we should create the space for everyone to embrace these opportunities and understand the value of continuous learning.

When attempting to engage in a task and learn new skills and capabilities, there are three key elements to consider:

  1. Be positive: Approach a task with a sense of positivity and optimism. Have belief in your ability and confidence in your conviction;
  2. Be present: Be fully focused on the task at hand and fully immerse yourself in the learning process;
  3. Focus on the process: Learning is a journey, not a destination.

Trust and embrace the process and the outcome will follow. By following these steps, you are enabling to focus on a controllable process which can help enhance your personal learning and development.

What is preventing you from reaching your full performance potential? The answer may lie in the simple equation P = p – i (Performance = potential – inhibitors). To elaborate, we all possess an inherent desire to reach our full potential. Unfortunately, however, the path toward self-actualisation is a complex one. If we can recognise the internal (e.g. fears and concerns) and external (e.g. lack of opportunities and resources) factors which can inhibit our performance, then we can actively work toward addressing these inhibitors, which in turn can help clear the path toward our full potential. Take time to consider what inhibits your learning and how this can be overcome.

These are just some key highlights taken from July’s Innovation Day. Each month, clients of the Innovation Programmes receive a full ACT report, capturing the guest expert’s research, the implications and next steps for leaders to apply back in their team and organisation.

Next month, clients will explore how sport and performance psychology practices can be transferred into the workplace.  For more information, please view the Innovation Day page.

Sources: Wilkins, A. (2018) ‘Ancora Imparo’, KnowledgeBrief Innovation Day Presentation, 11 July.

Learning is a journey, not a destination.

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