Strategy to learn, grow, and achieve goals

Learning can be honed through practice. Here’s an effective strategy to continually learn, grow, and achieve development goals.

What drives most of us to learn something new is curiosity and a desire to keep growing. Turning that desire into new capabilities, though, requires a plan.

Intentional learning - it’s essential to cultivate both the right mindset and the right skills to keep learning throughout our personal and professional lives. Setting small, clear development goals is one of the five core practices of effective learners and serves as an anchor point for seeking out and benefitting from new learning opportunities.

Effective strategy for achieving learning goals incorporates three key elements:

  1. A defined number of clear and immediate goals: It’s fine to have a broad range of aspirations for continued growth. Most effective learners do. The best way to achieve them, though, is to focus on a few concrete goals at any one time.
  2. A defined period in which to meet those goals: Deadlines have a way of focusing the mind. While the cycle time for meeting a target depends on the nature of the goal itself, our research has found the optimal period should be long enough to establish new behavior and short enough to create a sense of urgency and momentum.
  3. A defined group of people who can support and monitor progress on goals: People are more likely to achieve goals when they enlist others who can help and hold them accountable.

This approach mirrors the natural arc for learning: identifying specific knowledge or a skill to learn, creating a process for how to learn it, and then engaging people and practices to help reinforce it, transforming knowledge into concrete capabilities.


Food for thought: Have you set your development goals yet? 



Cited, McKinsey and Company