Unleash Your Learning Potential

One of the key skills that will help you succeed in your career already lies within you: understanding the way you learn. Focusing on what topics are relevant to your needs, and knowing when and how you digest information, can help you unleash your learning potential as you advance along your career path.

For me, it’s a rewarding process to help others learn and grow, and I’ve been lucky enough throughout my career to have been involved in training and development in one way or another. Now, as IMAs vice president of education and career services, my team and I are tasked with providing a variety of continuing education learning opportunities for financial professionals in business. These programs and services need to be delivered in a variety of formats in order to help professionals maximize learning. But, it’s also important for individuals to understand their learning preferences.

Here are a few things to ask yourself when deciding if an educational opportunity is right for you:

Topic Relevance

Will the topic help you grow your knowledge, skills, and abilities to be more effective on the job and progress in your career? Is it mandatory to continue holding a certification?

As a busy professional, it’s important to continue your professional education, but it’s also important to choose a topic that is relevant to your personal and professional goals.

Format Preference
Learning_Potential_1How does the training opportunity fit in with the rest of your commitments? Do you have the time needed to attend live workshops, conferences, or events? Is your preference to leverage self-study online courses accessible at convenient times from the comfort of your home or business? Or, does a webinar given at a prescribed time in which a speaker presents on a topic in real time interest you instead?

Determining the right environment and format can help prepare you for an ideal learning experience.

Learning Style

Lastly, but also very importantly, what type of learner are you? There are generally three types of learners: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

  • Visual learners absorb information better when viewing pictures, diagrams, or other visual representations of concepts. Such learners may want to participate in courses that are more visuals based and less text based.
  • Auditory learners learn best by listening to Relaxe woman at homedirections and information and verbally sharing information with others. Courses including lectures and engagement through team exercises may benefit these learners the most.
  • In contrast to visual and auditory learners, kinesthetic learners prefer to be actively involved and enjoy hands-on learning. Educational courses that include practice tests, knowledge checks, and case studies are important to such learners.

It’s helpful to understand your preferred learning style so that educational opportunities can enrich your learning experience.

Setting Yourself Up For Success

Growing your professional knowledge, skills, and abilities is critical to progressing in your current position and, more importantly, in your future career. Understanding your professional developmental needs, course preferences, and learning style will help with your growth.

With more than 300 online self-study courses available 24/7, webinars on management accounting and leadership topics three to five times per month, and in-person conferences and events typically including lectures and networking opportunities, IMA is dedicated to offering a variety of learning approaches. Check out IMA’s Learning Center for more information. You can also view our new learning assessment tool, CareerDriver, to match your skills to 40 management accounting roles and build a development plan as a guide to the next step in your career.

Written by Debbie Warner, CPLP

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Finding Your Life Balance in the Workplace

These days, it’s difficult to balance work and personal life responsibilities. For mothers working in business, it’s especially hard to work full time, take care of a family, and have a social life. Before my first daughter was born, I was working at a Fortune 500 company in New York City and commuting from New Jersey every day. After I had my daughter, it became difficult for me to maintain that long commute, so I made a career move to a nonprofit that allowed for a more flexible schedule. In today’s business landscape, there are a few things you can do to maintain your work-life balance.

1. Prioritize Your Life

What’s most important to you at this point in your life: your career or your family? When I was younger, advancing my career was my top priority. Working at a Fortune 500 Prioritizecompany early in my career showed me that I could be successful, but then I wanted something more. I wanted to become a mother, so family became my number one priority.

After I had my second daughter, I realized that I couldn’t do it all myself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help at work or home when you need it. I adopted the theory that it takes a village to raise a family. I was fortunate that I could rely on my parents to help with my daughters as they were growing up.

2. Make Time for You
Time for self

To alleviate stress and realign your balance, make sure you reserve time for yourself at least once a week. You can do recreational activities you enjoy but haven’t done in a while, spend time with family and friends, or find a new hobby (like knitting or playing an instrument). As a way to decompress after my first daughter was born, I would have a girl’s night a couple times a week or have a date night with my husband.

3. Ask for a Flexible Schedule

Make sure that your employer supports work/life initiatives. A company that doesn’t have such initiatives may not be a good fit for someone trying to balance personal and professional obligations. I’ve been fortunate to experience the benefits of a flexible work schedule since I have been in the nonprofit industry most of my career, primarily working from home once a week. This schedule is optimal for a working mother who needs to be home with her young children.

Employees tend to be more productive because they appreciate having the flexible work schedule. An IMA’s Annual Salary Survey revealed that a majority of respondents in the U.S. prefer a flexible job schedule over quick career advancement, which in turn increases their job satisfaction.

Keeping the Balance

Now that my daughters are grown, they are forging their own paths in the real world. They will have their own work-life balance struggles to deal with, so I’ll be there to help them along the way, like my parents did for me. Just remember what matters most to you, and you’ll find a way to keep the balance.

Written by Linda Devonish-Mills, CMA, CPA, CAE

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