The Secret to Not Getting Left Behind with Technology
You have spent several years of your life pursuing an education. You’ve put 2, 4, 5, 7 years or more of your time into getting a diploma at community college or a degree at university. You poured your blood, sweat and tears into your academic years, and you graduated with a piece of paper, mountains of debt and no job.
Eventually, you got your foot in the door and started your career. You may be incredibly successful. You’ve developed expertise and experience in your chosen profession, and maybe you’ve become a well respected leader in your industry. Your college years become a distant, fuzzy memory as you move up the ladder.
It’s a typical story. What’s also typical is, unfortunately, many people lose one important thing as they climb to success in their careers. They get really set in their ways with their roles, and they forget the importance of continuous learning. Maybe the offices are cozy, and doing things the way they’ve always done them is comfortable. A lot of people don’t see a reason to change. Sound familiar?
(Note that even if this resistance to change doesn’t apply to you directly, you probably know someone for whom it does.)
The problem with this mindset of not wanting to change, is that the way we do business in today’s world has fundamentally changed. Online technology has caused a great shift, and business people that aren’t prepared to meet that shift are
going to be left behind are getting left behind.
Enter lifelong learning.
On the first day of class, I tell my students in the full time multimedia developer program in which I teach that everything they are about to learn in the program will have changed by the time they graduate in two years. I’m not trying to discourage them. I’m simply indicating that graduating from college is only the beginning. When they finish college, they will have a foundation of understanding of the industry. Then, it’s up to them to adapt themselves into the environments where their skills can be put to good use. However, learning does not stop when you walk out the door of college.
Those who are going to be successful in this new online world are the ones who accept that they must continue to find ways to learn new things. The experts will call it “lifelong learning”. I call it common sense.
Self starting starts with knowing where to start.
Lots of us are self-starters. We come across a challenge and instead of waiting for someone else to tell us the answers, we are motivated to figure out how to proceed. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start, especially when it comes to things like online marketing and social media. There is so much information out there, it can be hard to put your finger on the right information that makes sense for you and your business.
That’s why I believe that training is so important. Training, like college, is designed to give you a starting point. Good trainers provide you with a foundation on which you can build according to the goals and objectives you’ve set forth for your business or career.
I’m not going to teach you how to tweet.
Want to know why I teach? Here it is. I want to help people realize their potential, as business owners, leaders, and skilled workers. When it comes to social media training, I don’t believe in teaching people how to tweet. Twitter is intuitive. It’s easy to get started.
What is important to learn is how to use tools like Twitter, Facebook, blogging, video, podcasting, and images to tell better stories. What is important to learn is how to leverage these tools to help you achieve your business goals (and do it in such a way that it’s not going to suck every waking minute of your day).
If this is kind of stuff you want to learn, let’s talk.
My company, Jester Creative, offers several social media courses and online seminars. Our 5 full courses are 1, 2 or 3 days in length, and can be taken in-class (in Ottawa, Toronto or Montreal), or online. Our half-day seminars are designed to be quick hit tips and tricks to make your social media life easier. They are taught by experienced industry professionals (including me!) who live and breathe social media and online marketing.
Want to know more? Please check out our web site, where you can learn more about the training we provide, and register for upcoming courses online.
And of course, if you have any questions, or are looking for something specific, please -don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. or call me at Jester Creative’s office (613) 667-1616. I look forward to talking with you about your next steps on your road of lifelong learning.
Change is hard. I can help you make it easier. Let’s talk.
[image by Krissy Venosdale]
Great post Susan!
I would add one or two things, mainly about not getting completely sucked into the hype cycle, and resisting the message that EVERYTHING you know is obsolete. Technologies may change the how (for sure) and the what (frequently), but the why (or why not!) is not always changing. People who throw out all past learnings just make the same mistakes. For example, I remember a couple of years ago being pitched social media consulting by someone who could not talk specifics, and it reminded me strongly of what I had heard during the dotcom era ten years before: breathless enthusiasm, and no solid research.
That is a great point John -one should never discount the knowledge they already have. What’s important is having the flexibility to learn to apply their experience and expertise to new ways of doing things.