“Live and learn” goes the old saying, and this is especially true in the modern workplace where the speed is dizzying and those who learn quickly are those who succeed. Lifelong learning is a familiar term to Susanna Rahkamo, who works as a management consultant at Pertec Consulting. She has been writing her doctoral thesis on how to develop into a top specialist, and she will defend her thesis in mid-December.
A Top Athlete Recognizes a Top Specialist
Rahkamo learnt a lot about the topic during her years as a successful figure skater, and her motto is: ‘Skilled people will always succeed’. Her doctoral thesis, very suitably for a top athlete, focuses on world-class expertise. It crystallizes a specialist’s development and creativity into a six-step model.
There are six critical areas in the development:
|1.||Questioning and finding new solutions|
Since a large part of learning takes place at work, recognizing and stimulating these six areas are also vital in terms of management. “We should no longer talk about managing skills but managing learning,” says Rahkamo.
Although successful contact can happen anywhere, new ideas come up when specialists in different fields come together on the interfaces of their various skills.
Learning across the Organization
How can an organization support learning? According to Susanna Rahkamo, there are many ways, such as job rotation as well as introduction and application of new technologies. “You should try something new every day,” says Rahkamo. Spatial planning also plays a huge role as bunkers within an organization cause problems.
A workplace, at its best, offers both the opportunity to focus on the job at hand as well as fresh stimulation and opportunities to meet specialists in other fields. This also applies to virtual work: even though new technologies allow people to enjoy more flexibility and new possibilities to use the space around them, people will still need other people.
A depressing atmosphere at work can destroy creativity, and a true expertise requires passion and courage on a personal level. “Instead of brooding over problems people should focus their energy on finding solutions,” Rahkamo advises and continues: “Happiness, after all, is the most important thing.”
More stories from pioneers of modern work.