Continuous learning is crucial for any person’s long-term success. In today’s rapidly changing world, we must learn new technologies and new ways of doing business just to survive. To thrive in a diverse economy, we also must learn how to develop relationships and master new skills.
Today’s world is not only changing at an ever-increasing pace but it also requires that we work intimately with others to achieve our goals. Teams of workers create products, services, and results that cannot be accomplished by individuals working alone. And like all people, teams must engage in continuous learning in order to maintain high levels of performance.
Both individuals and teams must continuously learn new skills and develop critical knowledge. Individual talents can also help a team to grow while team growth in turn drives individual performance improvements.
Individuals learn in a number of ways. For example, we learn a lot of skills on the job. By performing a specific task, we learn how to do the task correctly. As we continue to do the task over and over again, we learn how to perform the task more effectively and more efficiently. Learning on-the-job improves our skills to perform specific tasks and activities.
Individuals also learn through organized skills and knowledge development activities – conventionally known as “training”. Education delivers a broad set of theories and practices, tested over history, to an individual seeking to learn. Formal education, such as a college degree, includes cross-functional knowledge that an individual must integrate to gain a new perspective.
For instance, as an engineering major, I didn’t understand the value of classes like psychology or music history. Years later, serving as an engineering manager, theories from psychology helped me succeed in building cohesive teams. Finding common topics to discuss with customers and clients, such as the influence of Gregorian chant on the music of the 1800s, allows a person to build camaraderie and trust.
Individuals also can improve their skill sets through targeted learning. Training in one’s field of study develops knowledge that amplifies on-the-job learning. In particular, professional certifications offer targeted learning delivered at the right time in an individual’s career. Professional certifications normally involve demonstration of experience, mastery of best practices within the field, and continuing education to maintain the credential.
Finally, individuals learn from others. Interactions with team members include sharing of best practices and tools of the trade. Such informal learning supplements formal educations and professional training.
Teams must also learn together in order to accomplish their goals and objectives. As individuals gain skills, these are shared with the team through informal interactions and implementation of best practices. As a single person demonstrates an improved process, the rest of the team learns how to approach the task more effectively.
Psychology, specifically the work of Bruce Tuckman, teaches us that teams naturally progress through known stages of development as they learn to work together and gain knowledge to improve task completion. These stages are:
- Norming, and
When the team’s work is finished, the team disbands during a final stage called “adjourning.”
As the team comes together (forming), individuals bring specific skills to the group. The team begins to identify necessary tasks, skills, and knowledge during the storming stage and then designs work practices, policies, and procedures through the norming stage. With a high level of interpersonal trust and knowledge sharing, teams reach the level of performing that supports sharing and learning.
In addition to informal learning that occurs among team members as the team develops, many groups also benefit from formal training. For instance, individuals benefit personally and professionally by earning credentials in project management, new product development, and engineering management. Moreover, an entire team that goes through the training together realizes even greater benefits.
When an established team takes professional certification training together (whether online or in person), knowledge and skills are developed to address professional growth as well as specific, real-world problems. A team that enrolls together in Scrum Training will learn the practice of Agile project management as well as individual skills. Even more so, the team will collectively gain formal knowledge to deploy best practices in their own specific situation while at the same time learning to interact and share as a group. For this reason, at Simple-PDH.com, we offer special discounts for multiple attendees from the same company. We believe in the most effective training to develop teams quickly.
Learning as an Individual and as a Team
Individuals and teams cannot stop learning new information or new skills. Their very survival depends on continuous learning. Informal learning, such as on-the-job and shared experiences, can help to improve specific task performance. Formal education, like a college degree, provides board-based knowledge that individuals can apply at different times and at different depths to improve their own performance in a given situation.
Team development also centers on learning but in learning new skills and knowledge to solve immediate problems together. Learning as a team can be informal via shared experiences but knowledge retention is more powerful when the team participates together in targeted professional learning events. Join us as a team for Project Management Professional (PMP®), New Product Development Professional (NPDP), or Scrum Training. You will study, learn, and earn. It’s simple!
In the meantime, practice using early detection of problem areas in projects. EVM is one tool and frequent communication with team members is another. Good luck!
Study. Learn. Earn. Simple.
by Global NP Solutions, LLC