I worked at an organization that, no matter how good it was for her, my team member didn’t want to be “training.” I don’t blame her. She didn’t have time and, truthfully, she was right and she already had mastered her job.

Some people are resistant to learn new things, even if it’s in their best interest. With that in mind, how can an organization encourage them to see that learning is important without forcing them into formal training programs? While she had mastered the day to day aspects of her job, she certainly had to continually develop – we all do.

One way for encouraging these reluctant learners is for managers to directly ask their employees what they’ve learned, either during a group meeting or individually. When I first implemented this, my team pondered about the answer and couldn’t come up with anything. From that, I suggested they spend four minutes daily thinking about what their day taught them and recording it in a notebook. The four minute number helped to entice them to carve out the time and the payoff in their development was huge.
What worked for them?
What things failed?
What did they learn about the day?

This solution worked well. Each person, including the reluctant learner who had mastered her job, had something to share in our weekly team meeting. We learned from each other through those disucssions and had lively conversations. More important than the process of sharing, however, was the self-reflection and ability to process their achievements or misses into learning opportunities.

This simple four minute reflection created more impact and development than any training programs I introduced. In fact, the four minute reflection evolved into an on-going habit change in many team members who began applying this to their person life.

I didn’t need to know the details of what they learned – they needed to learn them. And when they started applying the “lessons learned,” the organization benefited from their productivity increase and they benefitted from their improved job satisfaction.