With 2017 almost 1/3 of the way done, now is a good time to take stock of the goals laid out as the year began. It is an ongoing part of one’s professional development to think about what you want to accomplish, what you want to learn, where you want to grow, and what the next opportunity is. As you are pondering the answers to these questions, let me take you back to learning how to drive. (For those of you without a license, bear with me.)

How did you learn to drive a car?

Did you learn by being a passenger in a car? Did you learn by reading the rules of the road?

The answer is no and yes.

No, because the way you truly learned to drive was to get in the car, put your foot on the pedal, hands on the steering wheel and go.  And yes, because being a passenger and knowing the rules of the road helped you in driving, but the actual doing of driving is how you learned.

Learning and growing in your role and profession is not much different. There is a popular model in the leadership and development world that says, 70% of our learning comes from experience. 20% comes from exposure, and 10% comes from formal education and training.

A simple rule to follow is the 70:20:10 rule. 70% of your development activities should be focused on experience, 20% from exposure, and 10% or less from formal training.

In case you are wondering what (work) experiences can help you grow toward your goals. Here are a few activities to consider:

  • Filling in for a manager on vacation
  • Mentoring or onboarding a new employee
  • Representing the team at a cross-functional meeting
  • Managing a particular project from start to finish
  • Making a (temporary) lateral move to another part of the organization
  • Helping launch a new business, initiative, or program
  • Helping turn around a struggling team
  • Presenting the team’s work during a meeting
  • Serving as a liaison between two or more functions
  • Working on a challenging project or initiative
  • Developing a new product or service
  • Interviewing potential employees
  • Teaching a process or course to the team or others

Enjoy the ride.

by Susan Dawson, Chief People Officer
Reference: Corporate Executive Board

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