“People learn something every day, and a lot of times it’s that what they learned the day before was wrong.” – Bill Vaughan
Last week in this space the idea was about paying attention so we don’t miss opportunities for growth, whether that growth be for our business or for us personally. I’m still thinking about that idea, and what it really comes down to is whether or not you want to be able to describe yourself as a “learner”.
If you ask someone if they like to learn, they’ll almost always say yes. I can’t actually remember ever hearing anybody say, “No, I don’t want to learn anything new ever again. Learning is bad.” Doesn’t happen. We all know that knowledge is good, that the more we know the better we’re able to do our jobs, function as people, etc.
But our actions don’t always jive with our words. If you think learning is important, then what are you doing to make it happen? What things are you intentionally doing that will challenge you, intellectually and emotionally? I talk to a lot of leaders, and, unfortunately, if most of them were going to honestly answer those questions, they’d have pretty similar answers – not much.
There’s probably a lot of reasons for that, but one is our own perception. Sometimes as leaders we think we’re supposed to have all the answers. We think everybody expects us to have all the answers. We think that if we’re out there trying to learn, that other people might find out that we don’t actually know everything (news flash: they already know).
Leaders need to be intentional about their own development, about their own learning. Everybody says they know they have weaknesses, or they have strengths they aren’t taking advantage of, or opportunities they’re missing, and if they were just better at X they’d nail it. Then five years later they’re saying the same thing.
Ask yourself: What do I need to get better at during 2021? On what skill/behavior do I need to improve? Making that list will be easy. Narrow it down to one or two, and then make a plan for it. I’m going to this conference, that webinar, read this book, talk to this person, etc.
Don’t just hope for it. Work for it.