No matter where you work or what your career is, one thing we all have in common is that in today’s fast-paced world it is paramount to stay on top of the latest industry and business trends. Whether you are a manager, a programmer, a writer, an artist, an entrepreneur, a lawyer, an engineer, or an accountant, if you want to be a high performer you have to keep up-to-date with relevant news, technologies, and business developments.
Learning doesn’t stop once you graduate school. For many of us, our degrees are the base and the foundation for the rest of our learning. And if you have worked in your industry for decades, take some time to step away from familiarity and see how others are getting things done.
Tips to stay in the loop:
- Go to conferences and seminars. If you cannot attend, scan the programs and session descriptions, which can often be found online. From there, you can find leads for trends to investigate further.
- Scout out forums and discussion boards for your profession. The Groups and Discussions features on LinkedIn are a great place to start.
- Pay attention to what the top bloggers in your area of expertise are writing about. You don’t always have to agree or take their word, but it is almost always insightful to know others’ perspectives.
- Attend online webinars. Many are free, you can come and go as you please, and most will make a recording of the session available as well.
- Be familiar with the latest technologies and computer programs. Learn to use them on your own or consider taking a class if you need more structure.
- Subscribe to newsletters. Most educational institutions, consulting companies, experts, and authors have a mailing list and/or newsletter. Stay up to date by subscribing to those who consistently put out interesting, substantive, and innovative information. Two of my favorites are Harvard Business and SmartBrief.
- Set up Google Alerts. One option is to subscribe to key words within your specialty area (“emotional intelligence,” “servant leadership,” “change management”). In addition to setting up an alert for your own company, you can also set up an alert for your competitors’ companies.
- In addition to amassing all this fantastic technical knowledge, also strive to continuously develop your soft skills as well. Learning how to manage yourself and lead others is an ever-evolving art.