When you’re new to a job, it can be overwhelming to realize how much there is to learn. When you work in a fast-paced environment like Seer, it might feel a little like this:
If your team members are bogged down with work or your training is limited, how can you help yourself to level-up learning on the job? I’ve got three tips and tricks to get you started.
1. Ask Why
If you’re anything like me, you learn by understanding. Over time, I’ve found that learning is not memorizing a step-by-step process or memorizing the solution to a problem. It’s using what you already know to construct new understandings. For me, that means really getting to the root of a problem or decision by recognizing the factors that were at play, the alternative options at hand, and the benefit of the said outcome.
Now, a few months into the new job, I’ve also found that it’s easy to be a yes-man.
“This week, we’re going to de-prioritize Project X to focus on Project Y.” Sounds good.
“Format this section of content as an H2 instead of an H3.” Accept.
“We don’t want to target this keyword.” Delete.
But is there any value in just accepting feedback without understanding the reasoning behind it? It may be a time-saver in the short-term, but it sure ain’t aiding your growth for the future. What happens when YOU have to become the decision-maker, huh?
The people managing you have experience and knowledge guiding their logic to arrive at decisions. There are reasons why they recommend one thing over another. Ask them what they are. If your managers or teammates aren’t providing the extra feedback as to why they choose to do something, take the initiative to get inside their heads and ask!
2. Try to Figure It Out Yourself First
At Seer, we’re encouraged to ask questions. Lots of ‘em too.
In fact, our team is so accessible, approachable, and willing to help that I’ve found myself asking questions I should be trying to answer myself.
When you get stuck working through a problem, it’s easy to decide you’re at a roadblock and reach out to a teammate or manager for help. But have you tried to sort through the problem yourself first? Did you reaaally try?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to never ask a question again. What I am saying is that there is value in trying to teach yourself something versus just being given an answer.
When I started at Seer, I had minimal experience using Power Bi (What’s Power Bi? Glad you asked.) Like none, actually. Once I was put on my first client, I suddenly had three major analyses coming up and just a few hours of training on the tool. Now, a few months later and multiple analyses under my belt, I feel fairly confident in navigating the tool and analyzing data.
How did I learn so quickly? By trying to figure it out myself. Yeah, of course, I asked for help at times, but before I did, I made sure I had spent sufficient time trying to first help myself. And in the process, I fumbled around the tool, made mistakes, and learned more than if I had just raised the white flag.
3. Ask Yourself Questions
Wait… why would I ask myself questions when I’m the one who's stuck? Isn’t that counter-intuitive?
Or is it…
I often find that asking myself the same questions I’d ask my manager about a problem helps me to arrive at a solution. Call me crazy, but I actually have that conversation in my head as a way to help back my way into an answer.
Asking yourself questions can help you to begin thinking in new ways, which can then help to draw upon answers that aren’t immediately apparent. It goes a little something like this…
Q: I’ve identified these 10 opportunities for Client Z, but I’m not sure how to prioritize them.
What would make one opportunity more valuable than another… impact. How do we predict impact… data. What specific data should I look at… Clicks, Conversions, MSV, Rankings?
Q: Cool, I’ll check the data. Wait, but how do I do that?
What tools do I have at my disposal? Can I draw upon a recent analysis? We just did that PPCxSEO Analysis. I can get the data I need from the dashboard and that will help me order opportunities based on expected impact. Sweet.
Sometimes ya know more than ya think ya know, ya know? And if you still haven’t reached an answer after asking yourself a few questions, you’ll at least be able to better verbalize your areas of confusion and present your logic to whomever you reach out to next.
These tips might seem small, but details add up. Making an effort to practice these strategies has helped me to learn new skills quicker and feel less dependent on my managers in my new role.
Do you think like this too? Great - we’re hiring!