Intentional Learning Today, Future-ready Skills for Tomorrow

The onset of Covid-19 has emphasized the urgency of improving one’s skills to keep up with changing times and fit into the new norms of work. The expectation is that both executives and employees, must constantly upgrade their skills. Despite this context, many companies are grappling to meet their reskilling goals and bridge the skill gap in the digital arena. The underlying cause is that very few employees have been oriented towards the core skills and mindsets of effective learners.

I believe that learning is a lifelong process and acquisition of new knowledge and skills is fundamental for sustained success.

Recently an article by McKinsey caught my attention and I share with you here, the two critical mindsets and five core skills that can collectively reorient professionals towards becoming “Intentional Learners”.

You can become an intentional learner by following simple practices.

Two Mindsets for Unlocking Intentionality

  1. Embrace a growth mindset

A growth mindset is driven by the assumption that skills, talents and intelligence can be honed with deliberate effort. The belief is that you can change and grow over time.

2. Feed your curiosity

Curiosity is the engine of intentional learning and can be developed by practicing it more rigorously.

Three ways to build the curiosity muscle:

  • Face your fears –Fear limits curiosity, so you need to recognize and eliminate the blind spots that are hindering your progress.
  • Seek novel experiences – Avoid stagnation by feeding your mind with something fresh such as new places and exposure to cross-culture ethnicities.
  • Focus on your passions – Cultivating interests outside work will equip you with new skills. Explore and do more of what invigorates you.

The five core skills of intentional learners

  1. Set clear goals – Having tangible goals (personal or organizational goals) will steer you on the right path. A goal that is exciting and challenging will pump the desired motivation to accomplish the result.
  2. Remove distractions – Intentional learners are protective about their time and organize their priorities to align with their goals.
  3. Seek feedback – Intentional learners seek feedback ferociously to improve and refine themselves.
  4. Practice deliberately –The pattern of trying, failing, refining your approach, and trying again is at the heart of building all behavioral skills and attaining a level of perfection.
  5. Reflect regularly – Reflection helps you make progressive improvements and happens in three phases — before, during and after a task.

The level of intention we bring to learning, prepares us with a new set of skills for facing challenges. Intentional learning is an investment we must make to boost our personal and professional lives and deliver a competitive edge.

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Chirantan Joshi is the co-founder of the E-Movers group based in Dubai and is an avid proponent of business networking. Corporate Connections UAE is his act.