Have you ever looked at a book, article or video and thought that you would never dive into something like that because it’s so far outside of what you do in your daily life? Before you dismiss them, ask yourself if they can actually help you become better.

As lifelong learners, our challenge is to ask how we are taking ourselves beyond our area of expertise. Why? Because the way you grow is by reading, studying and learning about things that are outside of your core area or comfort zone. When you try to learn from things that are unfamiliar to you, it enables you to see things from a new perspective, and ultimately allows you to understand your own core area from a different viewpoint and find ways you can improve.

As an example, a few years ago I was working with a large, international organization who employed several Change Managers and I challenged this group to take some courses on Lean Six Sigma. “Why?” they asked, “We aren’t responsible for reducing defects, just helping other teams adopt change.” I explained this philosophy and after taking some courses, what they found is by gaining an understanding of the methodology of Lean Six Sigma, it allowed them to appreciate projects from the team’s perspective and more clearly see what the team was trying to accomplish. They were still able to use their deep expertise in Change Management, however this new additional background knowledge allowed them to approach it in a way that made sense to the team, ultimately making the change smoother and stick better.

Whether you are a Change Management consultant or working in an area such as HR, allowing yourself to look beyond traditional training courses can help you tap into knowledge that is outside your typical set of tools and enables you to see your processes from a different vantage point. You will find that not only have you improved your own skillset, but you are able to identify with projects on a different level and will find that you have become better and more effective at your own craft.