Purposeful Talent Development: Create a Habit of Learning

mug of coffee with words create habits
Jennifer Stangl Photo
Director of Professional Development

4 minutes

Don’t let reading and taking courses take a back seat to operations.

To keep pace with changing personal goals, technology and organizational initiatives, our knowledge and skills need to evolve and develop. The book you read, course you attended or degree you earned just last month or 10 years ago will not sustain you for the rest of your career. We need to continually build our knowledge and develop our skills to stay up-to-date in order to succeed in our roles and grow our careers.

The barrier that we encounter is that talent development often takes a back seat to daily operations. We need to get out of the mindset that learning is an indulgence that we devote time to when it is convenient. Learning supports productivity, interpersonal relationships, member experience and therefore organizational goals and strategy. Help yourself and others create space in the day for development by establishing a climate that supports a habit of learning and engages individuals in leveraging opportunities to learn every day. 

As great as it can be to get off-site and engage in learning, you don’t always have to do it through a week-long or full-day event. You can gain a new perspective with a five-minute review of an article or a quick conversation with a colleague. 

Budget Your PD for 2020

Set yourself up for success by creating a habit of learning, so you’ll be in the mindset to learn when you do have more time to engage in a longer event, such as a virtual class or conference. Use and share these steps with others to help create a habit of learning:

1. Identify a focus. Finding motivation to learn can be tough when we are bogged down with daily tasks. However, if we focus on one goal or topic, learning becomes more manageable. For example, identify a skill you want to develop. From there, you can identify actions aligned to that focus. An action can be something such as reading an article to build knowledge, connecting with a colleague to discuss a process or question, or reflecting on an experience.

Sample focus: Develop the skill of thinking strategically to help create connections from the daily work of the team to the organization’s strategic goals.

2. Establish actions. To make learning achievable, keep the action simple and don’t overwhelm yourself with too many ideas.

Sample actions: Visit to review the daily article. Read a piece of content within a CUES Learning Portal pathway.

3. Assign a trigger. Once you’ve selected your focus and established actions, identify triggers within your routine that will remind you to act. 

Sample triggers: Logging into my computer each morning; anticipating my first sip of coffee; during the one-on-one with staff.

4. Create a habit. Use your trigger as a reminder to take action, making adjustments as needed. If your focus or action(s) seems too challenging or too easy to accomplish, make an adjustment. If your trigger isn’t working, swap it out for something that is more reliable.

Sample habits: After I log into my computer each Friday, I will visit to review the daily article. As I sip my coffee, I will write down one thing I did yesterday that supported our strategic goals. When I am waiting for an appointment, I will access a piece of content from my Saved Learning on CUES Learning Portal.

5. Acknowledge accomplishment. After you’ve acted and moved yourself a step closer to creating a habit, celebrate it.  A small, internal acknowledgement can help validate your new habit and solidify the new behavior in your mind. 

Sample acknowledgements: Check it off your list. Enjoy the first sip of coffee. Share what you’ve learned with someone.

One of the best things you can do to create a habit of learning is to leverage the resources available to you. Your CUES member benefits are a great place to start. Here are a few triggers and actions you can take using your member benefits to create a habit of learning:

  • After I log into my computer each morning, I will visit CUES Learning Portal to see what new content is available in my feed.
  • Before I take my first sip of coffee, I’ll read one article from the most recent Credit Union ManagementTM.
  • When I receive the monthly member newsletter, I’ll identify a staff person who could benefit from an upcoming CUES webinar or Elite Access course. 

Jennifer Stangl is CUES’ director of professional development.

CUES Learning Portal offers access to curated content from CUES and other reputable sources to help you learn what you want when you want it. Check out the CUES Learning Portal videos to learn more about the features and how you can use this to support your individual development and those of your staff. 

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