Monday, September 22, 2008

To learn lists - the thought is father to the deed

In response to Tony Karrer's "Big Question" this month:

"Jim Collins, in an essay in Learning Journeys, wrote, “A true learning person also has a “to-learn” list, and the items on that list carry at least as much weight in how one organizes his or her time as the to-do list.”...

...Are to-learn lists really important to have? Are they as important as Jim Collins tells us?"

I don't think a "To learn" list is important in and of itself, other than as an indication that its author places sufficient importance on self-development to actually have one. It would be very easy to formulate a list but it is worthless without action. Most organisations could argue that a reasonable personal development plan (PDP) is a "To learn list". Yet every year when appraisals come round how much of the list from the previous year has actually been addressed?

Equally PDPs are generally created in consultation with a line manager or a mentor. A "To learn" list, however, sounds like a more solitary pursuit and risks failure for the same reasons that personal "to do lists" slip soundlessly into oblivion.

Unless it is published and, by this, I mean beyond the employee and his/her manager being able to see it on an LMS. If a "To learn list" is published in a blog it advertises the behaviour that its author seeks to have and by its nature invites support and advice. It takes unstructured, accidental learning and gives it a degree of intent or at the least opens the door for measurement. How many people lie about whether they have kept their new year's resolutions or even made them when they already lie broken and crumpled in the waste bin.

Much earlier in my blogging life (about eight weeks ago) I committed to change certain aspects of my working behaviour (What to stop). I would call this a "To learn" list and would reflect that I am making some progress particularly on points 1,2 & 6. Potentially this is because I drew attention to it. It may be the case that publishing a "To learn list" in a blog might help individuals get over the initial motivational hump of actually doing something. (see also "Who will drive us "and "A journey of a thousand miles")

At the beginning of the year I wrote my new year's resolutions against which I have had much poorer progress quite possibly because I didn't advertise them. The ones I am prepared to share here are:

1. Get my Day Skipper's ticket so I can take the family sailing in the Med
2. Pass my part 2 motorcycle test
3. Improve my Serbian (my wife is Serb and it is my weakest language)
4. Put together a more structured plan for retirement (PPP's and property are probably not enough)
5. Take all my holiday
6. Complete the outline of my book
7. Work on my work/wife balance

Let's see if I make any better progress now I have shared them. Anyone else prepared to share?


KAyaL said...

I feel a little sad that no-one has replied to your posting Hugh so I thought I would share something. I have a list of goals I made at the beginning of this year and some I can not share like yourself. But;

1) Commit myself to a career - check
2) Go on holiday - check
3) Get buff - not so much of a check
4) Grow a beard - Check
5) Find out whats wrong with Mum - check

I now have 5 goals achieved of 11. That's pretty f*cking good.

KAyaL said...

ok that looks a bit pathetic I have some weird sense of achievement.

I have get a record deal and stop going to the doctors so often as well.

KAyaL said...

haven't made them two but hey.... i'll stop posting now

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