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Learning on the job is easy

A lot of PAs are thinking about the year ahead and looking at ways of gaining new skills. It’s difficult to justify spending time out of the office and there’s not always a budget for external training. But there are ways of learning on the job without sacrificing productivity, says Liane Davey, cofounder of 3COze Inc.

Decide on the skill you want to develop
Work with your boss and HR department to identify a particular skill or set of skills you can work on and that fit into your role. Perhaps there’s one on your job description that you’re lacking in, or one you’ve discovered during your time that could be useful.

Do some research
The internet is going to be your best friend if you decide to take charge of your own development. There are loads of resources out there – from blogs to forums – that can help you pick up a few pointers. Keep up to date with the skill you want to improve and use your research to break your development into its components so you can better understand what it is you’re studying.

Set progressive goals
Drill down even further into these components and figure out how they apply to you. Maybe you’re scared to speak up at meetings and want to be more proactive with putting forward ideas. Set yourself a series of goals to master the skill gradually. Keep track of your accomplishments so you can see clear progression.

Ask for feedback
Tell your boss or a colleague about your strategy and ask them for feedback on your progress throughout the process. This will give you another perspective on the situation and keeps you from being too lenient or harsh on yourself. If somebody else knows your goals, they can help you stay on top of them.

Once you’ve mastered a skill, use it regularly. There’s no point putting in a lot of effort if you’re never going to do anything with what you’ve learned.

Read the original article from the Harvard Business Review at