I'm not really into poetry. It's one of the many things I wish I knew more about, it seems like something I'd enjoy but I've never spent enough time on it…yet. However, the first thing that came into my head when asked to write this was a poem often recited to me growing up (my dad actually quoted it at my sister's wedding!)
"Somebody said that it couldn't be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That maybe it couldn't but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so
'til he tried"
There is more, it's a fun story, you should Google for the rest! It's how I feel about most things but learning and development in particular.
There are lots of great reasons to put off continuing your development, why you can't do it. Some of my all-time favourites are "I'm too busy", "nobody told me about it" and "school isn't for me".
How can school not be for you? I'm not talking about learning the times tables from a fearsome man in a cardigan or repeating French verbs in front of a lady who smells faintly of garlic. I'm talking about every day being a school day, of being open to new experiences and looking for ways to learn new things. For me it is about using my brain, being curious and getting answers to questions I never knew I had (back to Google again!).
This last eighteen months I've put my money where my mouth is and gone back to school. By the summer I will have completed an Advanced Diploma in HR Development while continuing to work full-time. It has been a commitment but I am fascinated by people, what we think and how we tick. Every time a light bulb goes on in my head and I make a connection between theory and my experience I am energised to learn more. My problem is focussing my scatter-gun approach to knowledge in one area. The connections lead to other interesting things as I realise how little I know, and how big our collective knowledge is!
I am a learning professional so it is also my job to help our people at Gleneagles develop their skills. This year, with help from Margo and Training Matters, we have given 12 supervisors and 10 managers the chance to explore authentic leadership through a structured programme linked to SVQ qualifications. Not only do they have the opportunity to gain a professional qualification by demonstrating competency in their role, a raised profile through delivering a business improvement project and the chance to network, but also the space to learn and decide what sort of leader they want to be.
Now, I'm not saying go mad and leap straight in, although you would have my huge admiration if you did. But you don't need someone else to tell you what and when to learn, there is a world of possibilities. The internet may have its downsides but for learning it's immense! Harvard, MIT and a whole heap of UK universities have free online courses available for anyone on a whole range of topics (one of our Finance guys is doing a short course in physics as we speak). Youtube, once you get past the dancing animals, has allsorts and is particularly useful for explaining business theories. Google “Excel” and you will find a range of free tutorials. Join a group on social media that discuss topics interesting to you. Local colleges do evening and weekend classes (how about learning Spanish for your holiday?)
Just do something! If you wait until the time is right it never will be. Pick something that's useful, that you can use straight away to make life easier or more interesting.
Remember, you can't say it can't be done 'til you've tried!
Written by Mary Scott, Learning & Development Manager, The Gleneagles Hotel.