7 Tips to Improving Learning Agility

It is absolutely necessary to be constantly learning given that much of what we do involves constantly adapting to changing business landscapes and working through ambiguities. The best way to effectively do our work is to constantly learn about new technologies, knowledge across different disciplines and trends so that we can improve product experience for users and ensure the long-term success of our company.

Thus, the best PMs are those who are able to transform themselves into a learning machine and consistently learn & assimilate new knowledge over a long period of time. Drawing from my personal experience, I compiled 7 tips that will get you into a growth mindset and improve your learning agility.

Before you start, ask yourself, do you know WHY you want to learn it? What is your purpose in learning? What particular area piques your interest and gives you joy? Having a clear purpose and deriving joy from learning will motivate you to push on when learning gets rough. I recommend coming up with a compelling purpose and writing it down. Do come back and iterate on it as interests do change over time.

Make no mistake about it, learning is tough and you are going to struggle through it. Sometimes you may even feel like you are not progressing at all after investing many hours which led you to believe that your talents are innate and impossible to grow. That is not true, research has shown that people can learn through deliberate and consistent learning over a long period of time, even in the face of failure. The key here is embracing the fears, uncertainty and picking yourself up after failing or struggling. Know that even the darkest night comes to an end and the sun will surely rise eventually. Embrace the struggle and the rewards will come.

#3 Start Small but Dream Big

As the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in one day, but they were laying bricks every hour.” Set small achievable learning goals such as 30 minutes of reading a day. Move on to bigger goals like practicing what you learnt when you improve with time.

#4 Hold yourself accountable.

“Try not, Do or do not. There’s no try”, Yoda.

Be it announcing your learning goals on social media or locking yourself into a room to get some quality reading done, hold yourself accountable at all cost. Something that helps me in this aspect is creating a conducive environment to block out distractions.

#5 It’s Dangerous to Learn Alone! Bring someone!

Learn from people who know more than you and teach those who know less. The former helps you to fill in your knowledge gap, the latter activates the “Protege Effect”. Both approaches help greatly in your learning. Besides, learning with someone is way more fun than doing it alone.

#6 Practice, practice and more practice

Have you read something but find that it just doesn’t stick with you? Try putting what you read into practice. Practice enough and it will become second nature to you.

#7 Learn something random

When learning gets tough and dry, what works for me is to learn something random and fun that has nothing to do with what you are working on. Besides, You don’t know what you don’t know and you will be surprised how it opens up your perspective and helps you discover new knowledge.

Product Manager @ Rakuten Viki