I was reading a management classic recently called Leading Change by John Kotter, a Harvard management professor.
In his view, companies that embrace change are those that will survive. Thus, one of the key ingredients of embracing change is to have a team of “lifelong learners.”
He lists the habits of lifelong learners:
- Risk taking: Willingness to push outside of your comfort zone.
- Humble self reflection: Honest assessment of failures and successes, especially the failures. If you move outside your comfort zone, you are going to have bigger wins and bigger losses as well. You always need to process what you have learned from this.
- Solicitation of opinions: Aggressive collection of information and ideas from others. You always know what you know. It’s what others know that you don’t which gives you an edge. Learners are asking and seeking to know more on a regular basis.
- Careful listening: Developing the skill of really listening. I can listen well. Try to do it all the time. But, sometimes I don’t. Listening is a habit. You have to intend to listen.
- Openness to new ideas: Willingness to view life with an open mind.
What new have you tried lately?
What have you learned that caused you to improve?
How have you climbed out of your normal network to get new ideas? What have you read new? How have you engaged with vendors differently? Who have you called outside your normal circle and shared a problem with? What have you experimented with lately which could help others on our team?
Having answers to those kinds of questions is a measurement of your capacity as a lifelong learner. How did you do?