by Gary Ryan Blair
Of all the rules and principles of performance improvement advocated by myself or any other author, none is of more fundamental importance than a thorough commitment to learning, both individually and organizationally. In a very real sense, it is a precondition to all the others. Look at it as an insurance policy on success.
In The New Economy, the case for learning with knowledge creation as its PRIMARY goal, will be overwhelming. Propelled by the competitive imperatives of speed, global responsiveness and the need to innovate constantly or perish, learning will be the essential hedge against extinction.
Learning must be the dominant responsibility of everyone, regardless of position. The person who figures out how to harness the collective genius of the people in his or her organization is going to blow the competition away.
In The New Economy where the only certainty is uncertainty, the only sure source of lasting competitive advantage is knowledge. When markets shift, technologies proliferate, competitors multiply and products become obsolete virtually overnight, successful companies will be those that consistently create new knowledge, disseminate it widely throughout the organization and quickly embody it in new technologies and products.
In short, success will come from learning!
Successful organizations and individuals in The New Economy will also require superior infrastructure for building, gathering, and disseminating knowledge. These organizations must be capable of delivering strategically relevant information to the right people in real time.
Perhaps most difficult of all, learning means surfacing and re-examing all those assumptions that operate today.
Learning is about more than simply acquiring new knowledge and insights; it is also crucial to UNLEARN old knowledge that has outlived its relevance. Thus, forgetting is probably at least as important as learning.
Old cultural and psychological habits die extremely hard. Rooting out and challenging obsolete assumptions can expose critical discrepancies between external reality and internal mental models. It is these gaps that provide much of the creative tension and dynamic energy that drives learning.
The Hallmarks And Prerequisites Of Learning:
This list is ambitious; ideally, it is not even fully attainable. Learning is a journey with no end in sight. But the conscious pursuit of learning and growth is what really counts.
* Intellectual Curiosity: A passion to understand the changing forces swirling around you, an eagerness to learn them faster, and a recognition that learning is an unending journey.
* Humility: A pervasive acknowledgement that no one can have all the answers. You must have a willingness to learn from others.
* Self-Criticism: A logical extension of humility. A constant questioning of conventional wisdom and a keen awareness that success invariably sows the seeds of failure.
* Tolerance for Ambiguity, Complexity, and Change: An acceptance of the fact that change is an inherent reality. Thrive on change; don't allow yourself to be intimidated by its rough and unpolished exterior.
* Experimentation: A willingness to try out new approaches, to monitor the results, and to incorporate the feedback into new initiatives.
* Hunger for Feedback: A genuine eagerness to reach out and get performance feedback from a variety of sources, and a willingness to listen to it and make changes.
* Failure: A view of experiments as desirable, mistakes as inevitable, and failures as offering the raw material of success. Learning is more a product of failure than of success.
* Creative Self-Destruction: No advantage lasts forever. Render yourself obsolete before others do it for you. It's the price world-class innovators gladly pay for staying ahead of the pack.
Learning is the most strategically compelling task to which everyone should dedicate himself or herself. Ask yourself, this important question:
What have I learned today to make me and my business more competitive in the marketplace?
Keep learning and keep growing, or you'll find yourself road kill on the road to The New Economy.
Gary Ryan Blair
Written by Gary Ryan Blair - The GoalsGuy is your online goal setting and personal leadership coach. Check-out My Personal Strategic Plan and learn how to achieve more in the next year than most people do in a lifetime. See why best selling author Brian Tracy said, "This is the most remarkable, simple, and practical guide for ANYONE who wants to create the ideal life!" Click Here!
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