Venturing away from the safe and familiar might make your corporate learners a bit uneasy, but it can offer them a variety of long-lasting benefits and significantly enhance their work productivity. In this article, I’ll share 7 convincing reasons why you should push your corporate learners beyond their comfort zone.
Why You Should Push Your Corporate Learners Beyond Their “Comfort Zone”
The “comfort zone” consists of behaviors, beliefs, and activities that we have made part of our daily lives. It’s what we are most familiar with. Thus, we tend to stay within the boundaries of this zone in order to reduce stress and avoid uncertainty.
The trouble is that this can prevent us from growing as individuals, leading to stagnancy in both our personal and professional lives.
As Instructional Designers, we have the ability to encourage our corporate learners to move beyond their comfort zone and seize new opportunities, which gives them the chance to:
1. Reach their true potential
When corporate learners stick to a routine and get comfortable with who they are and what they can do, they stop trying to test themselves and their limits.
Pushing beyond the comfort zone allows corporate learners to test their mettle, so to speak. Once they venture away from thoughts and ideas that are familiar and safe, they have the power to grow and expand their self-awareness.
Things that were once “impossible” are now within their grasp, and they begin to understand that determination and planning can help them to achieve anything. The only caveat is that they must be ready and willing to step outside of their comfort zone.
2. Learn from mistakes
When we try out new things or explore new ideas there is always going to be a margin of error. Not every trip beyond the comfort zone is going to go smoothly, but that just gives corporate learners the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and expand their knowledge.
It’s all about taking risks, even if it makes them a bit uneasy. Every error they make allows them to correct performance behaviors and build new skill sets that can benefit them in the real world.
Most importantly, it offers them the opportunity to improve their weaknesses in order to achieve success.
3. Increase creativity and problem-solving skills
When your corporate learners encounter new challenges that are outside of their comfort zone, they must develop new problem-solving approaches to match. This prompts them to get creative about overcoming obstacles and put their lateral-thinking abilities to good use.
This can be attributed to the fact that their current solutions are geared toward everyday problems, which are no longer an issue outside of the comfort zone.
Now they have to use all of the tools, resources, and knowledge at their disposal to arrive at new conclusions. When they are asked to tackle a new or unexpected challenge in the workplace, they will seize the opportunity to try out some newly acquired skills.
4. Take control of their career path
When corporate learners stop doing what is familiar and start trying new things, they become more empowered and self-confident. This is due to the fact that they know what they are capable of and that they have what it takes to be successful.
Instead of settling for the safe and secure, they are now able to tackle bigger tasks that once made them nervous and pursue more ambitious professional goals. In short, they are aware that they are in control of their lives and that they can dictate every step of their career path.
This also increases their engagement during online training sessions and prompts them to actively participate in the process by boosting their intrinsic motivation.
5. Broaden their professional experience
Corporate learners who have a significant amount of experience are typically more productive and flexible. They can draw upon a vast amount of knowledge, past mistakes, and past successes to solve current problems and help their colleagues to expand their understanding.
In many respects, corporate learners who aren’t afraid to go beyond the comfort zone are ideal mentors.
They encourage their peers to seek out new online training experiences themselves and respect the viewpoints and opinions of others.
They are also well-rounded, as they have dabbled in a variety of different niches and tasks throughout their career.
6. Improve their ability to adapt
When corporate learners leave behind their comfort zone, they also begin to understand the importance of change. Rather than fearing it, as many of us do, they respect the fact that we must all adapt in order to grow and achieve our true potential.
Above all else, employees learn how to effectively cope with change and accept it as a natural part of life. This can be extremely useful on-the-job, especially when it’s time to move up in the ranks or deal with a new task or tool that will improve their work process.
7. Put their existing knowledge into practice
Employees who experience new situations or challenges must put what they’ve learned into practice. The information they’ve gathered in the past and stored in their long-term memory now becomes an invaluable asset.
If they cannot apply it directly, then they will at least be able to link it to new ideas or concepts in order to build upon an existing schema.
In fact, knowledge that they may have thought was unnecessary or extraneous can actually become a powerful tool in their arsenal.
Stepping outside of the comfort zone can be one of the most challenging things that your corporate learners will ever have to do.
This is particularly true for employees who may be “set in their ways” or simply unaware that they are maintaining the status quo in their careers. However, giving them the opportunity to explore exciting and unfamiliar territory can turn them into lifelong learners.
Are you looking for ways to make your online training program more engaging and learner-centric? Read the article 6 Tips To Create Personalized Online Training Experiences For Your Employees to discover how to provide your corporate learners with the customized online training experiences they need to achieve their objectives and enhance their workplace productivity.
Originally published on: 11 Apr 2016