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Use the Small Moments in Learning

September 25, 2019


There is this vicious cycle that I see in organizations when it comes to employee growth and development. 

  • Employees want more of it. According to this Linkedin report, employees would stay longer with a company if the company invested in learning and development. 

  • Companies don't offer enough of it. And employees will be more likely to leave if it isn't offered. 

  • Classroom training isn't as effective as companies envision it will be, says this article.  

  • Even when offered, this report found that employees are too busy to take the time to attend to training and development programs. 

  • Since training isn't offered, and we're too busy, employees still ask for more training. 

If you're like my client who read these reports, you'd throw up your hands and say "Gosh darn it. I don't flippin' get this stuff!" 


It can be frustrating. We are busy. We may not have a budget or not enough money to provide training to our employees. However, with this mindset, we're missing some of the best opportunities to help our employees grow - through taking advantage of small, everyday moments.  


The best learning stories I have, and hear from others, are when managers have said: 


"Come with me." Involve your employee in a project, meeting, etc. Allow them to own a piece of it, in addition to observing.


"What do you think went wrong?" Learning from our mistakes is one of the best and often missed opportunities. And don't be afraid to ask your employee what they felt you did wrong. 


"Have you met her/him yet?" Meeting new people allows them to learn from others as well as grow their own network. 


"Share that with the team." Learning is best done when the student becomes the teacher. 


"I need your help with this." You have a list of stuff that you need to delegate or have been hanging onto. Pick one thing and task it with your employee. 


"What is your BHAG?" Allow your employee to identify a new and important goal that will help the company and/or their role. 


"What would make this place better?" Give your employee the chance to challenge the system. 


"Would you try this?" Don't pass them spoiled milk, but rather, look for opportunities for them to test something out. 


At work, we may pass up opportunities to teach our team important and valuable lessons in the moment. But by actively seeking out these everyday opportunities, we can not only help ourselves and others learn, but also push us to find longer term success in the bigger things we do.

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