Turbocharging Personal Transformations

Turbocharging Personal Transformations

A Growth Mindset augmented with Curiosity has the power to influence individual behaviours. The mindset shift impacts the factors that enable personal transformations.

According to a 2020 report by the World Economic Forum, nearly 50 percent of the global workforce will be required to be reskilled by 2025. At the same time, the average shelf life of any skill has reduced significantly. The double whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic and digital disruptions has significantly perpetuated the complexities. All of us are floating in an incessant cycle of learning, unlearning, and relearning. The Pandemic has propelled the digitalisation of work, workplace, and workforce, giving rise to a paradigm shift in knowledge, skills and attitude needed to remain productive in the post-pandemic world.


Learning In The Digital Age


The intricacies arising from the range of skills that have come about as the core for any job is mindboggling. Paradoxically, on one hand, we need to reskill ourselves by building more muscle and minds with ‘digital skills’. On the other, the need for skills that are more ‘human’ in nature will also soar. The demands of work hardly allow employees to devote any time for formal learning. The traditional way of acquiring new skills where businesses build, own, and operate learning programmes is rapidly losing its effectiveness.


Enabling Learning: Role Of L & D Function


With the constant need for reskilling and upskilling of the workforce, coupled with the changing demands and nature of work, the Learning & Development function has a unique role to play. In the new role, it needs to create a culture where learning is an important and integral part of every day’s work. Employees cannot afford to switch off from work to invest their time in formal learning. The focus should be to create a culture where ownership and accountability of reskilling and upskilling are shared with every individual in the organisation.


An organisation’s quest should be to make the learning more experiential and personalised and provide resources that are engaging and relevant. There should be platforms for people to collaborate and socialise their learning. L&D functions need to be the strategic partners for the leaders in identifying the learning needs which are aligned with organisational goals and provide guidance to employees in their learning journeys.


Taking Charge: Role Of Individuals


According to a Harvard business publishing survey, globally, an average employee spends a meagre 1.5 hours in a week in formal learning. It looks minuscule when we put this against the reskilling challenges that we are facing. People need to adapt to informal ways of learning new skills. The democratisation of learning resources has made them the very pilots of their learning journeys. They have access to learning resources at their fingertips. Most of the Learning happens during the process of finding a solution to a problem in which they get stuck while working. However, there is also a need for a consented effort toward reskilling for the future.


Learning For Personal Transformations


The process of learning is complete and leads to inner transformations that manifest into desired changes in behaviour. Often, the process of learning ends with the acquisition of knowledge and we fail to establish the transformative shifts in the way we influence the external world. These transformations entail more profound experiences and a reboot of the premises and assumptions. It calls for a learner-centric and personalised learning experience that develops on the foundation of reflections.


Being in charge of their own learning, people need to adjust their mindset that will change their entire outlook towards learning. A Growth Mindset augmented with Curiosity has the power to influence individual behaviours. The mindset shift impacts factors that enable personal transformations. These factors are:


• Belief: A journey of personal transformation starts with the belief that talent is not innate and skills and intelligence are not fixed. People can grow, evolve, and change. There is an infinite possibility to develop newer capabilities. The seeds of such belief are sowed by shifting the inner dialogue from “my abilities are fixed and my future will be relatively similar to my present” to “my abilities can change and it is not possible to predict what I will be in the future”. The true potential of people is not reflected by failures and mistakes. They, in fact, are the stepping stone for a truly transformed self.


• Focus: In the personal transformation journey, the focus is on the process of being a better version of self. This requires a departure from being too concerned about the performance outcomes. When the focus shifts from outcome to process, efforts and hard work seem to be worthy as they lead to improvement and not on the end result. In an endeavour to gain enhanced capabilities, people leap into newer and noble experiences beyond the boundaries of their work. The inner dialogue shifts from, “I need to look good in front of others” to “what can I learn from others”.


Personal Transformations Through Intentional Learning


Intentionality is the product of the learning goals and directed efforts. The shifts in mindset definitely trigger the inner desire to keep growing through upskilling and reskilling. However, leveraging that desire to bring in personal transformation requires efforts with intentions.


Being an intentional learner is about setting developmental goals and channelising our efforts towards achieving them. For an intentional learner, each interaction and each moment is an opportunity to learn. Learning does not seem to be an additional effort as it is well-meshed with work. Even simple activities like reading an email or having a conversation with somebody is an opportunity to grow.


I am proposing three key action steps for intentional learning:  


• Define Learning Goals: It is important that people know what they want to learn and then articulate it well. It is also crucial to work on an optimal number of goals at a time. Acquiring new skills needs dedication and focus. Too many goals may end up getting the efforts divided and goals unmet. Too few goals will negate the opportunities to learn optimally in the given time.


• Declare Your Goals: There are two reasons to make your goals social by declaring them with your inner circle. Sharing the goals with other people generates a positive social pressure to remain committed to the learning goals. Secondly, feedback plays a vital role in our reskilling efforts. We can ask our confidants to evaluate our efforts critically and share feedback.


• Dedicate Time and Efforts: Dedicate specific time every day towards the efforts to pick up a new skill and also define the time frame in which you would like to achieve the goals. Ensure that the time frame is not too short or too long. Too short a time frame will make the learning superficial without going to the depth of the skills. Too long a time frame allows the learning to lose focus and interest.


Along with all the other skills, ‘learning how to learn’ will be the key. There is a need for dramatic changes in the way we look at learning. The emphasis must be on bring wholistic transformations in the way we interpret and interact with the external world. With the right Belief, Focus and Intentionality our reskilling journey will be a rewarding one.


Vishal Shankar anchors Learning, Leadership & Organization Development interventions at Larsen & Toubro Limited. He has over a decade of rich experience in various facets of HR, contributing to research and practice in various HR themes especially learning, Leadership Development, Culture, Change Management, Digital Transformation and Diversity & Inclusion.


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