Most of us have had the experience of reading a great book, listening to a podcast or going to an in-person workshop and being very excited about all of the new concepts we have learned. But what happens when you return to the office and the pressure of your fast-paced schedule? For many people, the notes get filed and never applied to their business. Here are some tips on how to effectively apply what you have learned to get the results you want.
1. Identify the key takeaways that fit your current needs
Start by identifying the key takeaways from your learning. Select the most important concepts or skills that actually will apply to you and your business. Tips to optimize shelf space may have been interesting, but not useful if you do not have a storefront.
Once you know the key topics, ask what are the implications of these learnings for your life or your future, your business, or the future of your business? This will help you to prioritize your next steps. Focus on your current needs and save the other ideas for a later date.
2. Solidify the concepts
Solidify what you have learned. Teaching or sharing concepts with your team and peers will help them and clarify the information for you. This is also a chance to get feedback. When your team agrees to try something new, include their input on how to proceed. Getting buy-in and ownership from your team is an important part of successful change.
You could also find and join a peer group or online forum where you can discuss what you are learning with others. Not only will this help you stay motivated and accountable, it will also further solidify what you have learned.
3. Include your learnings in your goals and plans
Once you have found opportunities to practice what you have learned, set goals and then create a plan. Alternately, incorporate your learning into your existing plan as a new strategy to achieve one of the goals you already have. This is the time to spot obstacles and opportunities. Clear goals and a solid implementation plan will minimize risks. Having a specific and realistic plan will help you stay focused and motivated.
4. Be persistent
Trying something new and different can be a challenge. Be patient and persistent with yourself and your team. It takes time to master new skills and knowledge, especially for people who do not like change. Resist the urge to revert to old methods just to get something done. You may not see results immediately, so don’t get discouraged. Just keep practicing and applying what you have learned, and you will eventually see improvement.
If you are facing obstacles or resistance, or struggling to get started, find a mentor or coach who can help. This person can provide you with guidance and support and act as a sounding board. They will also hold you accountable to do the actions you have decided to take.
5. Get feedback and reflect
Now that you have some momentum, be sure to get feedback from others. Ask your colleagues, employees, and customers for their feedback on how you are applying what you have learned. This can help you identify areas where you need to improve.
Take some time to reflect on what you have learned and how it has changed you and your business. What new insights have you gained? How has your thinking changed? Have you gotten the results that you expected? Hopefully, the results from applying your learnings have exceeded your expectations.
Finally, celebrate your successes! When you see progress, take some time to acknowledge the hard work you and your team have put in. Look back at where you were and where you are. Seeing your results will help you and your team stay motivated to continue learning and applying what you learn.
Applying what you learn is an essential part of lifelong learning. By following these tips, you can make sure that your learning is truly effective and that you are able to reap the benefits of what you now know.
Author: Sandy Merritt, Business Coach in Louisville, KY