As a leader, you must embrace change and remain a student, or find yourself perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.
You can long for the good old days as much as you want—I miss going to Blockbuster too. Enjoy the memories, but you must move forward and prepare for the world of today and tomorrow.
The word student in Latin is studious – meaning “eager to learn.”
Being a student has very little to do with your age or where you learn. A person can learn anywhere and doesn’t have to be in a formal classroom or training session. Think of the books, blogs, podcasts, and videos available on-demand!
Are you eager to learn?
Leaders who aren’t eager to learn will be ineffective and ill-prepared for the world in front of us.
An easy way to get started is to read your industry magazine, blogs, or listen to podcasts. Since I am a professional speaker, I read the monthly magazine the National Speaker Association publishes. I regularly find ideas and techniques that can help my clients grow and thrive. If I didn’t continue learning and perfecting my craft, how long would it be before the world moved on without me?
Tips and ideas to become a learner:
Design a leadership learning curriculum for the year. Determine the competencies that make up a great leader and build a plan around developing in those areas.
Be open to learning. Realize there’s so much to learn and take every experience, conversation, and content as an opportunity to learn something new.
Block out time for learning. Thirty minutes in the morning to read, listen to a podcast on your commute—there are countless ways to block out time for learning. Whatever you decide, make sure there’s a regular cadence around the time you block out. The more you do it, it will become a habit. For example, Bill Gates blocks out an entire week to go off the grid for reading and other forms of learning. He calls it “think week.”
Learn about a leader you admire. Two simple ways: ask for an informational interview or read a biography.
Have an attitude of learning wherever you go. Your smartphone is all you need—there’s the Kindle app, Blinkist, podcasts apps, and library apps to access everything you need on the go. Make a habit of opening a learning application rather than mindlessly scrolling through social media when you have five minutes to spare.
End the day reflecting on what you have learned.