Learning and development barriers are a function of extreme time pressure, bad bosses, and the fact that lots of people receive little or no performance feedback.

What makes learning and development difficult

Learning and development are stifled by organizational cultures that do not promote or even encourage employee development and when organizations demonstrate a willingness to accept poor performance and the status quo. So there is no accountability or pressure for improvement and, studies show that in a number of cases, people work at companies that fail to invest resources and create processes to promote learning.

But it’s also true, people don’t take the time for self reflection and self appraisal. The simple fact is that some people are just not interested in learning and improving themselves. Out-of-control egos and hubris can also prevent people from realizing that they are less-than-perfect and in need of some work.

Removing barriers to learning and development

Make it a habit of engaging in ongoing learning – it’s been said that we all have an opportunity to learn each and every day of our lives if are paying attention to the things going on around us and I believe that this is absolutely true.

So let’s assume for a moment you’ve taken the time to address your situation. You can do that by conducting a kind of strategic stop to identify the results that you are being paid to deliver and the actions that it will help you deliver those results, the key relationships necessary for success and where you need to invest your time for success.

Invest time in understanding yourself – It’s imperative that you and I take time each and every day to reflect on what is going on and how you’re going to do it. This means it will become more self-monitoring and self aware of our behavior which is the cornerstone of an emotionally intelligent person.

When we have an action plan in place we then have a great opportunity for learning we take our midday and end of the day stop time to review what was done was not completed and what lessons we have learned. High-performance business leaders will tell you that daily self appraisal is one of the most important things necessary for ongoing learning and without it it’s easy for all of us to become ineffectual.

Ask and use feedback –  it’s imperative that we seek out and receive ongoing feedback from the people around us were in a position to help us improve our skills. Research tells us that lots of professionals do not get sufficient feedback and coaching on their performance, so we need to become more proactive in this regard.

If your organization is not providing you with satisfactory feedback and you need to create your own feedback mechanisms, if you’re going to be in a position to continuously improve your talent and your performance.  If we take the time to build great 360° working relationships the opportunities to get accurate feedback and candid feedback go up significantly.

Learn from mistakes –  it’s imperative that we learn from our mistakes and we do not allow them to become habits or lifestyle. There’s a good chance that we won’t remember what Socrates said on this, but there is a very good chance that you will remember the words of the great American film actor John Wayne when he said “Life is tough, but it’s tougher if we’re stupid”.

I sure hope this doesn’t come off as being offensive but when we make the same mistake time and time again it means that we are not learning.  You see an ignorant person does not know what to do a person is being stupid though when he knows what to do and for whatever reason doesn’t do it. For any of us doing stupid things can damage our performance our credibility of our our character and our career.

Keep learning every day – ongoing learning can take place when we make seeking out new and better ways of doing things part of our daily work routine and our approach to work. There is much to learn by learning how to ask good questions and by sharpening our listing skills.

There is much to learn by working closely with talented people and learning how to emulate their thinking and behavior and there is much to learn by reading newspapers and periodicals that can help us with information about current industry trends and best practices that are relevant to our jobs.

There’s also much to learn we have great working relationships to draw upon we have a question or we need input in solving a problem or we simply need a sounding board for an important decision that we are about to make, and engaging in all these practices on an ongoing basis can have a powerful effect on our ongoing learning.

Create accountability systems – leaders and professionals who are serious about ongoing learning will create accountability systems for themselves that motivate and encourage them to engage in many of the practices. As to do some things that might be outside of our comfort zone possibly if you remember our discussion on change having accountability was a critical component for getting coronary bypass patients to adopt healthier lifestyles.

People who are serious about ongoing learning will have regular contact with an accountability partner or they may go so far as to set up a personal Board of Directors. This accountability on a regular basis is great for discussing the things we need to keep doing, the things we need to stop doing and the things we need to start doing to improve our performance.

But, more important is to stay humble and maintain a teachable spirit. Ego, hubris, arrogance are the enemy of ongoing learning and they can poison our ability to accurately assess our talents and our willingness to learn from others.