What new skills are you going to learn this year?

“Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003” so said then CEO of Google Eric Schmidt in 2010 – are you keeping up?

As Challenge Consulting’s coordinator of all things social media, I constantly have to absorb new information and update my skills. From learning new ways to format the website, to taking a course to learn a new system or program, I personally find that the more I am learning, the more confidence I have in taking on even more new challenges in my role.

Regardless of whether you are currently in a senior management position or just entering your profession, we each have responsibility to grow our skills to keep ahead of the game. There are a few key benefits to developing and learning new skills:

Increased knowledge – for a long time when talking about the economy – you had two answers – either it was up or it was down. Now we are working in a multi-speed economy, what is up today could be down tomorrow. Do you have the knowledge you need to make informed decisions in your next career step?

Improved performance – a learning mindset can increase your productivity and performance. You can learn how to work smarter, so rather than overloading yourself, you can increase your own personal effectiveness, which is good for you and good for your employer.

Stronger network – learn the skills you need to build relationships, which will allow you to build a broader network that you can tap into to help you succeed in your career.

Promotability -If you are wanting to move up within your organisation, increased skills can help you to reach that promotion you have been looking for

Adaptability – If you are in a more senior level new skills can help you adapt easier to the changes within your industry – the longer you wait to learn new skills and qualifications, the harder it will be to catch up.

However, if you look at learning the same way you look at going to the dentist, than chances are you will avoid it and not take advantage of formal learning opportunities that come your way.

Remember that with any new skill it takes time for that skill to be developed, and time to master it.   There are some very simple and effective ways to keep your skills growing:

On the job training – Never be afraid to ask, after all, your manager will probably appreciate your initiative to want to learn new things

Keep up-to-date by reading daily – with newspapers readily available, not to mention LinkedIn news, industry magazines, blogs and various other social media content, there are so many ways to source news and information almost instantly.

Attend conferences, networking or workshops – by having mentors and experts within your industry providing you with the best methods on how to be the best that you can be within your industry. Not only that but you can share your views, questions and experiences with other like-minded individuals and establish closer connections.

Challenge yourself – You would be amazed at how many new skills can be self-taught. Sometimes it can just be a matter of challenging your brain daily with quizzes and crosswords to keep yourself more alert in the daily commute to work. If a new challenge presents itself, offer to be that person to take on the task, as sometimes we don’t even know we have skills in a particular area until we actually delve into it.

What new skills are you going to learn this year?