As I do my reading a consistent theme is that you need to be a constant learner in order to be successful. Futurist James Canton mentions it as one of the keys to future success as well. To be a constant learner you need to be a consistent learner. But how do you do that? How do you insure that you are learning?
Ask a simple question
On simple way to measure what you have learned is to ask yourself “What have I learned this week?” It is an easy way to hold yourself accountable. If you go too many weeks without learning something then hopefully you will start to feel guilty.
You can also use a similar question to try to improve you employees. Ask them “Since the last time we met what have you learned?” Tom Peters tells the story of meeting his friend, and fellow management guru, Warren Bennis asking him “So what have you learned since I last say you?” and Peters feeling like a 19-year-old school boy when he had no answer.
Peters even goes on to say “I strongly believe that an explicit focus on ‘lifelong learning’ for everyone on board could well be the most sustainable advantage an organization of any flavor can have.” In addition to asking this question Peters also suggests the best annual performance review is to have an employee present their resume showing how they have updated their skill sets in the past year.
Reward for learning
If you really want to amp up your employees learning try offering some reward for knowledge. Canton says the Future Smart organization will have everyone as a lifelong learner. He suggests paying people “to learn new things, to go to trade shows, to learn a new language or to learn a program.”
If you want a high performing organization:
- Hire people who want to be constant learners
- Reward people for being constant learners
- Hold people accountable for being constant learners
- Ask them what they have learned
So what have you learned this week?