Can Old Dogs Benefit from Learning New Tricks?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Adriel Hampton 12 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #66837

    Emi Whittle
    Participant

    How To Keep Innovating Seriously though, I thought this was an interesting concept! Being “really good” at something can lead to a lack of humility, lack of openness, boredom,…. whereas becoming a new student of something, anything, can generate some fun, excitement, a humble sense of humor…. What was the most recent “new” thing you have tried and how’d it go?

    For me, the most recent new things have been Facebook and Govloop… I did bite the bullet and ask for help from a few folks MUCH younger than I… results: I have met a lot of nice people and had the wonderful opportunity of reconnecting with old friends – and some long lost relatives! Next – I hope to take some classes on risk management or data architecture….

  • #66849

    Adriel Hampton
    Participant

    Risk management is an interesting topic. If you do go in that direction, would love to hear about the insights you gain (fairly relevant to my work, and to all of our work, really).

  • #66847

    Emi Whittle
    Participant

    Well, basically September 2010 when the Shuttle retires, so does my job! My company Futron Corporation does “Decision Management Solutions” so I’d better add some more skills to my repertoire along those lines! And, btw, there should be a Decision Management Solutions group on LinkedIn too…. I’ll be looking for that next!

  • #66845

    Emi Whittle
    Participant

    Oops, on LinkedIn, it is called the Decision Management Forum… 🙂

  • #66843

    Don Jacobson
    Participant

    Emi – I think gaining new experiences is key issue for employee motivation. One of the things that attracted me to the Foreign Service is actually that I can have a career path and yet do a completely different job in a different country every 2-3 years. So everything is always new and fresh. Granted, that may be more change than many people want. But I’m happiest when I’m learning new things and dealing with new challenges. I think both the military and the Foreign Service have a big advantage in that we move around so much. I would love to see other agencies do more to facilitate employee rotations to different part of their organization (or even between agencies like the intel community is now doing). Such rotations do a lot to enhance effectiveness by enabling employees to gain greater perspective, expand their network, and see their work in a new light. The Center for Creative Leadership actually says that leadership skills are best learned through varied and challenging work assignments.

    Best,
    Don

  • #66841

    Emi Whittle
    Participant

    Thanks! I think too though that it is human nature to venture towards that zone of comfort…. and I know the older I get the tougher it seems to “change”…. but, nonetheless, I will strive to keep finding new things to do! Or maybe at least finish some of the old ones…. I’ve got this blanket I’ve been knitting for a year now… And I agree, fresh perspectives Plus seasoned experience = success!! (Your Foreign Service Career sounds fascinating…..)

  • #66839

    Don Jacobson
    Participant

    That’s a great point, Vicky. It’s important for agencies that use rotational assignments for professional development to have a plan for dealing with the energetic employees who come back from their rotations with lots of new ideas and perspective. At the individual level, it can be a challenge for some managers to deal with this issue, especially if they have had the benefit of a similar rotational experience.

    Any job can seem like a box. When you finish your rotations, I encourage you to keep peering out of your box and to stay connected with the network you developed during your rotations. Enlarge your job by thinking about how you can contribute to the larger mission of your agency. Or reshape it by taking on new responsibilities. A while back I did a Q&A with Cynthia McCauley, author of the book Developmental Assignments: Creating Learning Experiences without Changing Jobs. She provided some insights that you might find helpful. (I wouldn’t want you to become irritable!)

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