How do you expand your professional knowledge?

The words, data, information, knowledge and wisdom

Recent research from the Institute of Leadership & Management shows that the number one goal for respondents (2,141 members and non-members) is expanding their professional knowledge.

That’s not surprising considering that the way we work, and the way work is done, is evolving rapidly. And that in the people development space there are many new technologies and trends to consider.

So, how do you stay abreast of developments in your discipline? And how do you know what to believe?

Many professionals rely on their professional institute to provide them with the knowledge they need to do their jobs effectively. This is a regular and ongoing process in any regulated profession.

But where do you go for knowledge and skills that sit outside of the regulation driven parts of your job? And if your discipline is not governed by regulation, where do you find the information you need, who do you take notice of and why?

The reason I ask is because there is simply so much information available from a range of sources. And those sources will provide a divergent set of views. Unless you only consume information that conforms to your beliefs and way of thinking.

Learning and development is a good example. Book publisher KoganPage has published around 10 new books on L&D in the last few months. Which ones are you supposed to read?

Or what do you do when faced with contrary views on the same subject. Who or what are you to believe? And what about evidence-based practice? What do we understand about that? What evidence should be used in making decisions?

For me, expanding your professional knowledge requires the right mindset and toolset (more on that here).

It also needs some healthy scepticism. The web is awash with people telling you what you should do. Always understand who they are and why they are telling you this.