In some of the recent commentary about the sacking of Martin O’Neil from Sunderland Football Club a theme seemed to be that the methods he had always successfully used were no longer working and did not have the same impact.
This has made me reflect on how easy it is as we get older and more experienced in our careers to continue using the skills that worked before. Most professionals will find a method that works in most situations and we are employed for our experience in the past of successfully using that method.
But what happens when it no longer works as well? Do we notice the change? Do we blame circumstances in our context for the lack of result or do we take a big step back and review whether we need to completely overhaul our approach?
This weekend I was at the MOL CIPD tutor conference and another tutor asked me what I thought about Smart Boards. I was fairly negative about their usefulness but the real answer is that I don’t know much about them! I have never needed to get to grips with them. My old and familiar methods work well, and most of my corporate clients do not have rooms equipped with anything smarter than a projector and a flip-chart. This is a classic example where we can deny that we might need to learn new tricks!
Tips for Refreshing Your Skills
- Be honest about your own evaluation of your practice. Ask yourself if you are getting the same good results as you got a year/a decade ago and be open to exploring the answer.
- Do a review of other people in your profession and find out what they are doing and identify any tips from this.
- Watch out for all those things you automatically dismiss and revisit those reactions with an open mind. I did a course on Twitter two years ago after dismissing Twitter as unnecessary to my profession, it was a revelation to me. I can see I am going to need to do a similar U Turn on Whiteboards!
- Try to make small differences in your existing practices, they might not work but you will find the experience of designing, implementing and reflecting on these changes will make you more consciously competent.
- Spend time with children. My nephew is 9 and provides me with valuable insights on the future generation of learners.
What other tips can you add to the top five? How do you keep on top of your skills and keep learning new tricks to future proof your career?