Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Always Be Moving Forwards - How To Efficiently Learn From Your Experiences

 Hey All,
Just a short one, but I thought I would pass on a a tip that a mentor shared with me, and some of the lessons I learnt from it.

A few months ago I was just finishing up on my first client engagement for IBM, and over a coffee a mentor shared a great tip on how to cement the lessons learned from an account which I want to share:  
'Write Them Down'

Now I know this sounds simple and even obvious, but go with it.
Whenever you learn something whether it be a quick way to do something, or a lesson learnt from a mistake, Write It Down!

Now. the idea behind it is that this time reflecting on what you learnt can help cement it in your mind. In addition it is handy to have a record of things you've learnt in your own writing style as just reading lessons other people have learnt can have disparity to your experiences, and you can miss points that are clear to other people as they experienced it.

This doesn't have to be a daily activity (I do it around every 3-6 months), but is definitely something you should allow a little time for.

Following this, you can then systematically review these tips/lessons at a later date and remember the experience associated with it.

To illustrate this, here is one of mine that I'll share:

Speed is Good, Accuracy is Better:
I learnt quickly that you will always come across a boss/colleague who gives you a task to do, and asks for it to be done 'Yesterday'. I came across this on my first client engagement, and being fresh to the industry, I basically fired through tasks given to me in this manner at lightning speed, which of course lead to a few minor typos.

Now this is a mistake that I let hamper me for pretty much most of my time there, and while I did my due diligence there would still be a few typos every now and then (which looking back now isn't a massive thing, it was just a stressful time on the account).

But I learnt from this, that no matter how fast someone wants something, ALWAYS allow time for due dilligence on your work, and make sure things are accurate. A client/boss/colleague will always appreciate the right work, even if it takes 10 minutes longer than something quick and wrong.

Hopefully this has helped, and as always feel free to comment and share lessons you've learnt from your outings.


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