March 11, 2011

3 Professional Learning Habits You Should Already Have

A participant in a recent planning session I facilitated asked me a great question during the break:  What are a few of the professional development habits that are just a part of your DNA that someone like me might not even know about?

I'm most certainly going to ask that same question of others with whom I interact (and I'm asking you now to share yours in the comments), but offer you today the response that I gave her.

Read ChangeThis Manifestos

Seth Godin originally started this community of regularly published PDF manifestos on a variety of management and leadership topics.  The great publisher, 800-CEO-READ now serves as curator and publisher.  Individuals can propose manifestos they've written and community memebers and site visitors can vote for those they'd like to see published.

 I find a manifesto makes a perfect quick dive into some valuable content, often enticing me to do further research.  The PDFs are well designed in landscape format which means no scrolling (yippee!) on most displays.  Two I recently downloaded to read are:  Disciplined Daydreaming and The Reinvention Imperative.  You can sort for manifestos by topic or author at the site and/or subscribe to receive an email notification when new issues of multiple manifestos are published.

Watch TED Talks, Pop!Tech PopCasts , and MIT World videos

TED and Pop!Tech are perhaps two of the more sophisticated interdisciplinary conferences who capture their presenter's talk in video featuring excellent camera work that makes for great later viewing.  Talks from both typically range from 12-20 minutes and are offered on a myriad of leadership and social change topics.  I sometimes use one of these presentations in workshops I design because the content and quality is so great.  And MIT has been making its courses and lectures available free for some time.  Its site features some real gems from folks who aren't always out on the conference speaking circuit.

I know some people automatically download every talk as it becomes available, but I still like to go shopping for them myself, reading the comments others have posted about the presentations and browsing through the new offerings.  Regardless of what approach you take, you're certain to find content that will be both professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling.  And the videos are the perfect length or a creative break during the day, watching on your iPad at the gym, or being combined into an educational FilmFest for your next cross-country flight.

Try Out New Conferences and Workshops

I have a few favorite restaurants I go to whenever I can, but I also value trying out new places.  I think the same should be true for our professional development: find one or two events where you'll be a "regular", but also throw in a few new opportunities each year to mix it up.  I've already registered for two that fit the latter category for me:
  1. a 90-minute program on Key Insights on Creative Execution from the very smart people at The 99 Percent and featuring Scott Belsky author of Making Ideas Happen
  2. a full-day training from the creative folks at Grove Consultants exploring content from the book Visual Meetings.
I'm likely to add to that list as the year goes on: attending a TEDx event at some point (I always check to see if one is being offered the same time I am traveling to major cities), a workshop on social justice and social innovation, and some program targeted at writers.

How would you answer this question?  Share your responses in the comments.  I'd love to hear your strategies and resources.

1 comment:

BBoydFlynn said...

Just found this post from Elizabeth's T4P - Two notes: 1) I have found one of the most useful things for my professional development is my activity as a mentor. Talking with my mentee gives me the chance/requires me to reflect on what is going on with my working life, and extrapolate the learnings to make them useful to someone else. 2) I see you are coming to Portland in May - I would love to have a chance to get together with you!