I recently read a profound article in the Harvard Business Journal regarding the age of learning and a business landscape that is forever changing. Nothing is static. NOTHING. So, how then do business leaders navigate the tumultuous waters of change? By taking a tip from our millennial counterparts...become lifelong learners. Many quotes about lifelong learning came from generations back, but it was easy for them to say, as the information rarely changed. They merely needed to access it to build their library of random, dare I say useless, facts.
Not so any longer. Our survival now depends on constant adaptation to new norms. If you haven't dusted off the old noggin to learn since that trig class in high school, then buddy you are in for a surprise. Not only is information being produced from nothing so it is entirely NEW, but the pace at which these NEW revelations come at us is breathtaking. And if that weren't enough, all this creates completely new paradigms in which we relate and do business.
Bottom line is this: Learning is essential to survival.
The Harvard article brought out 3 key elements to learning for business leaders in this age: SEEK, SENSE, SHARE
- Being a seeker implies that a great business leader will keep an ear to the ground and sniff out new trends and winds of change long before they get blind-sided, and then take action to prepare for those shifts in the landscape.
- Making sense of the findings is where internalization, critical thinking, and application take place.
- Sharing the resources, ideas and experiences is what helps the entire community grow (upward and outward)
I love everything about this, including the SHARING. I recently heard about a conversation from John Hofmeister, former President of Shell Oil Company. He was specualting on the shift to electric cars over combustion engines and the timeline for our country. He projected that with new found fracking techniques, we have prolonged our need to make any switch over, but further more, the idea of hydrogen fuel cell cars would be the change of choice. The problem we now have is the cost to build this technology, as there are so few in the industry currently attempting it. He mentioned that the first company to really make progress with Hydrogen fuel cell cars posted all their work online for all to see. Most people would initially think this to be a bad idea...but John explained otherwise. By sharing their findings and getting more people to innoavte, the whole industry can make the switch when it is time. But we need all hands on deck to innovate what currently doesn't exist. Brilliant. Rising tides lift all boats.