From John: 4 Ways to Maintain Your Appetite for Learning in 2021

young person anticipates enjoying a slice of pizza
John Pembroke Photo
Late President/CEO

2 minutes

Keep your outlook fresh so you can continue to acquire critical new ideas and skills.

Credit unions learned a lot in 2020 as the COVID-19 crisis provided a crash course in how to serve members during a pandemic.

While much of that learning was done on the job and even in the moment, here at CUES we know that credit union leaders also learned in more formal settings last year. We know this because the traffic on our content website was up, as was use of our online learning portal. And our end-of-year online learning events were well attended and praised.

It’s important not to let up on the gas for professional development in 2021. Although I’m sure you agree with that idea, I also know you might be feeling worn out from working online—and on camera—so much these days. You might be hearing from your team members that they are experiencing “Zoom fatigue” as well.

With that in mind, here are four tips to help you keep your outlook on learning fresh so you can continue to acquire critical new ideas and skills:

  1. Avoid multitasking during online learning. Don’t check your email while you are attending a webinar. When you’re learning, keep focused on the task at hand. An article from Harvard Business Review cites Stanford research that found that switching between tasks can cost you as much as 40% of your productive time.
  2. Change up your learning formats. There are lots of different ways to do online learning—and many don’t require you to be present at a particular time or on video. Be sure to attend one or more synchronous online learning events. But also use a learning tracker to help you take stock in all the learning you do when you read articles, view videos or listen to podcasts. And you might try an online course as well.
  3. Look ahead to in-person learning. The opportunity to learn in person with an instructor and your peers is always motivating. Keep an eye on the vaccine rollout and gauge when you might feel safe attending an in-person event. Match that with your learning needs and look for an in-person event that’s just right for you.
  4. Take time to reflect on your learning. Our highest-rated speaker ever, Harry Kraemer, spoke about the value of daily professional reflection during our online learning event in November. I encourage you to include your learning in your leadership reflection practice. Ask yourself such questions as: What did I learn today? What would benefit my organization and my career if I learned it tomorrow? How can I be more open to learning?

An appetite for learning is essential for success now and in the future. I hope these four steps help you stay hungry for new information and ideas in the new year. Continuous learning will help your credit union reach its goals and help you develop your career.

Since joining CUES in March 2013, John Pembroke has played a leadership role in developing and launching a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Under his guidance, CUES has revamped its membership structure and launched new institutes. Additionally, CUES has expanded its market further into Canada and the Caribbean. Pembroke’s experience includes 25 years in financial services, marketing and e-commerce. He also has served as chief marketing officer at PSCU Financial Services, St. Petersburg, Florida. Pembroke holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing and Policy Studies from the Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago.

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