This is part three of a three-part series where I’m covering the following topics:
- Part 1: Getting Leadership Approval
- Part 2: Retaining Information
- Part 3: Leveraging Learning (this article)
In this article, I’ll share some strategies to help you use what you’ve learned in training.
Previously, I shared the importance of creating an action plan—a document that outlines the specific, incremental steps you’re going to take to implement what you’ve learned in training. This is the foundation for leveraging learning.
However, a plan (in and of itself) is not enough. You also have to work your plan. It’s too easy to create a plan and then set it aside, never to think of it again. Don’t fall into that trap!
Keep your action plan top of mind by reviewing and updating it frequently. Track your progress as you go to maintain motivation.
Remember that professional development training is all about increasing your ability to deliver value to your organization. That only happens if you apply what you’ve learned in a way that has real impact.
As you take action, be sure to monitor and capture the measurable results of your work. You want to be able to cite a tangible return on investment, so your organization will continue to support your ongoing learning.
Specifically, you’re looking for ways in which your learning has helped you to:
- Save money for the organization
- Make money for the organization
- Improve efficiency of a process or procedure
- Improve quality of a product or service
- Fix an existing problem
- Prevent a future problem
If you can point to any of these things, your training has been a success. If you can assign real numbers to measure the improvements you’ve made, even better. (Estimates and approximations are also acceptable.)
Be sure to circle back with leadership to let them know about what you’re doing, what you’ve done and what you plan to do. Even if the organization didn’t directly support your training endeavor with funding, this is still a great way to increase your visibility and enhance your reputation as a serious professional dedicated to growth.
I firmly believe that professional development training is a worthwhile investment. I hope you’ll take advantage of it frequently throughout your career. I also hope the strategies offered in this series help you get even more out of it.
To your continued professional development!