Companies are spending a lot of money on learning and development. Jamming content down everyone’s throat. Getting excited about new systems and programs. There is always a new book to read, a new program to introduce, a new way of doing things to get certified in.
Yet, for all the money spent and effort put in to yearly development plans most employees look skeptically at all of this.
Most view development as something to be done when trying to get promoted, and even then it is more about appearances and networking then on truly making lasting change or building new skills.
We have to change the conversation. We have to adjust the plans and systems. We have to quit chasing the latest and greatest books that are rehashing the same content with a different wrapper.
There is an opportunity here to really dig deep and start making some lasting change for each of us. And part of that comes with reframing how we look at personal and professional development and our own growth as human beings.
Part of this comes with how we must adjust our relationship with our jobs and careers. For most of us, gone are the days of a lifelong career. And certainly, for most, the days of a lifelong job have clearly passed us by. Many companies and leaders are lying to themselves about employee retention. The best and most talented are not staying in the same role, the same job for years on end.
This is a generality. Sure there are some that will stay because their life circumstances at the moment make it so that they need to coast right now and so they stay put. There are those who are feeling less than, in their career and are settling for the job they have, for right now. Some have golden handcuffs and won’t leave while their pay is so high, waiting to be vested in those stock options, or they have so many weeks of vacation that they can’t think of leaving…right now.
The best and the brightest have an expiration date on their retention. It is reset when they are given a new challenge, a new position, or anything that adds to their skills set and their brand.
It is important to have a firm understanding of this as we look to change the way we think of development. Learning new things should be fun. It is in the play that we don’t notice the learning. It is in the play that we find enjoyment. And it is in the enjoyment that it allows our brains to soak up information and to do so for longer.
Bored brains, no matter how “motivated” will never be able to soak up the learning needed, especially as we get older, to put that learning into use and become experience.
Self fulfillment and reaching full potential as a human being takes reaching deeply into who we are and growing from what we were to what we can be. We have the potential to be more than what we are. To grow.
And it is time we bring back fun and make it a part of our learning, there is no reason adults can’t have fun. Our brains will thank us for it.