I had the pleasure of attending the National SHRM conference last week. Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K), basketball coach at Duke University, opened up the conference with a reminder about the importance of always learning. Of course, he was preaching to the choir, as everyone in the room was there to learn – from him and from each other.
Coach K said that one of the greatest teams he’s ever been associated with was the “Dream Team” in 1992. LeBron James, then only 22 years old, arrived at practice early and sat next to the best players at every team meeting so that he could learn from them. Coach K describes LeBron today as the “greatest player on the planet”. Apparently that learning style worked.
No matter our position, title, or skill set, we can always be learning!
Throughout my career I have observed peers and executives turn down opportunities to attend trainings & conferences. Others have stopped obtaining “required” continuing education necessary to keep up a certification. In almost every case, it was because they “didn’t have time”. Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, once compared not taking time to “sharpen the saw” to being “too busy driving to stop and get gas”. It’s just not a good idea.
Learning, of course, can come in many different formats. I have been a life-long reader, but when I started my business, and no one else was financially supporting my learning, I turned to books. I set a goal to read only business books in my first year. I had incredible learning that year – I was not just learning by reading, but also by implementing and experimenting at the same time. It was a double whammy for me.
I learn “on the job” every day – from our team, prospects, peers, and clients. Many have this same experience, and therefore don’t believe they need to take the time to learn in different ways – reading, conferences, speakers, or webinars. When I get away from my routine, though, and take time to learn from a new source, a new perspective – a basketball coach, for example, it seems to sink in in a different way.
Purple Ink believes in short spurts of learning. In today’s rapid-paced world, it’s difficult to keep most people’s attention for a full day or even a half day. We love to teach in a series of short bursts – lunch and learns or 2 hour sessions. The key, though, is that there must be follow-up, including more sessions and discussions or reminders in between.
How do you learn? Are you taking time to learn? Are you giving your teams a chance to learn? We encourage you to find a way that works best for you, or contact us at Purple Ink to see how we can help.