I was recently reading a good friend of mines blog Helen Meek where she discusses 3 zones that are related to how you work, i'll briefly explain them here, but you can read the blog to find out more:
Comfort Zone: This is where you're effectively coasting along, not challenging yourself in your day to day job.
Learning Zone: This is where you challenge yourself and are learning new things constantly.
Panic Zone: Where there's just panic, you may be challenging yourself, but probably not having the time to learn new things.
I think, that too many people in Engineering are stuck in the Comfort Zone. They are bored easily, but don't want to do anything to change that as it involves challenging themselves and what they know. I want to help get people out of the comfort zone, but doing so isn't necessarily easy.
To me, like most people I would bet, I'm most happy when I'm in the Learning Zone, I get bored and restless in the Comfort Zone, and the Panic zone isn't healthy for anyone! It's just not sustainable.
How can we encourage people out of the Comfort Zone?
I think first you need to find out what people find engaging and what interests people, if you find that then you can engage with them to help get them out of the comfort zone.
Secondly, by working closely with them you can learn how to push their buttons and challenge them on a daily basis, i'm not necessarily talking about setting objectives, but more about finding out about what makes them tick and why they do what they do, if they can rediscover what they love about testing then pushing them into the learning zone will be that little bit easier.
Finally by offering them an environment where they can do what they love, and recognising success and rewarding it as such, will help people come out of the comfort zone and hopefully thrive.
I have been lucky in that I currently have an environment where I do what I love, and people are aware of what interests me and what makes me tick. The next step is really offering this opportunity to others and hopefully move them out of the comfort zone and into the learning zone.