What do you remember about the last conference or training event you attended. The food? The conversation? The entertainment?
What about the content?
• What did you learn?
• How much of that material did you retain?
• How are you applying it now?
Good Course - Zero Retention
I’ve been to countless sessions over the years that were wonderful. They were chocked full of great information and ideas. I left thinking; “Wow! I can’t wait to put this into practice.”
I got back to the office the next day and dealt with the piles of emails that amassed while I was away. Then I moved onto the mini-emergencies that erupted over the few days I was absent. Finally, I attended to the day-to-day challenges of leading a team.
The stack of notes I took from the training sat on the side of my desk.
I didn’t retain a great deal of the information, and I certainly didn’t apply much of it either.
The same could be said for books I’ve read. Many books, have gone in one ear and out the other.
Good Course - Tons of Retention
Contrary to those training events or books, I've received immense value from other courses I’ve taken, seminars I’ve participated in and books I’ve read. The difference is, I learn and retain the most when I studied the material. Even more was remembered when I studied in a learning community.
We need to study the material
Studied. You know, read, review, and then practice. Fail. Go back and review the content again. Do it over. Talk about it with someone. Try once more. Get some feedback. Notice some improvement. Teach it to someone else. Study.
I studied Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. I took notes from the book. I applied the suggestions. I re-read certain sections. I became a student of GTD. More than that, I talked about GTD with others GTD geeks. I created a learning community of my peers studying the GTD method. It was that shared connection that allowed me to strengthen my understanding and application of this profound time management philosophy.
It is even more effective to study in a learning community
A learning community according to Wikipedia is a group of people who share common academic goals and attitudes and who meet semi-regularly to collaborate on classwork. That makes sense of course of those in school. But, it also makes sense for you now. Maybe even more so!
Your personal learning plan should include others
I am a firm advocate for creating your learning plan for your career and especially your leadership journey. As you identify the type of leader you want to be and work to develop yourself, you will need to learn. I strongly suggest finding a community to aid in that learning.
A learning community doesn't need to be formal.
The bottom line, is that learning communities enhance your learning. Here are 3 benefits of joining a Learning Community
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.