Being Effective at workplace – Active learning

This post is a part of the series of posts I am doing on Being Effective at workplace.

Active Learning is the most important attribute of an effective person. Learning in workplace could be a tricky thing though. Learning while working requires reflecting on the work, the results and the process, but we tend to be so focused on the tasks and outcomes that learning takes a backseat most of the time. However, effective learners find time to step back from even the most crunch time and attempt to synthesize their work into bytes of learning that they can absorb and apply.

Most organizations have processes like retrospectives (reviewing lessons learned and areas of improvement in an agile development model), postmortem, RCA, etc. in order to learn from their experiences, but they tend to become about process and less about learning. Effective learners create their own process for learning from their work and environment and continuously apply it to the next set of work they do.

Here are a few ways of active learning that I have observed and found useful:

  • Set learning goals before starting the work. This allows you to focus on exactly what you want to learn rather than getting influenced by the pressures of the work. You need to know what to learn, what not to learn, and what to un-learn. “What to learn” Continue reading

Being Effective at workplace

Performance review time is coming close, and this affords me an opportunity to review my personal performance over last 12 months, as well as those of my reports, my peers and my manager as I prepare to write my feedback. While doing this, I was struck by the differences in results among individuals I have worked closely with, and I was forced (out of my curiosity and interest) to think deeper into these performance reviews (mine and theirs). Performance differences happen because of so many reasons; however, one of the underlying themes I have observed is the notion of ‘being effective’.

Effective is a very commonly used word, and is often mixed with being efficient, and sometimes with the idea of being right or wrong. Therefore, let me define them first, in the context of organization: Continue reading