I say that phrase often.
It’s part of my personal philosophy, and it’s part of my business philosophy.
Let me explain…
People around the world (you included) buy learning materials, books, audio programs, webinars, tele-seminars and attend lectures and workshops every day. These learning options exist whether you want to learn about leadership, leopards, or being a lifeguard.
All of these activities make sense; we want to be able to learn or do more, and our life experience says that a classroom (i.e. school) or reading (i.e. books, etc.) are the ways to learn something new.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of these investments of time, money and effort in these courses, books and programs are wasted. Books don’t get opened, tele-seminars aren’t attended, workshops are forgotten and much more. It isn’t really the fault of the author, instructional designer or trainer for these problems. While there are things that these people can do to improve the results gained from their products, in the end it isn’t their responsibility.
It is the learner’s responsibility.
That means it is our responsibility.
And as long as we carry an “event” mindset, we won’t get the results we hope for. Because learning is a process, but all of the programs, classes and books are just events; and we don’t learn in a lasting way from an event.
In order for us to get value from the books, audios, classes, courses and workshops, we must take action. We must try what we learned, see what happened, tweak it, and try again. In other words we must do for learning anything new, what has always worked for us. Think about it – you didn’t learn how to ride a bicycle until you put your butt in the seat and a foot on the peddle.
At first, when you got on the bike, you made mistakes and fell down (and scraped your knee and depending on who was watching wounded your pride). Yet you got back up, tried again and learned how to ride.
To learn the things you want to learn now, you must get a little dirty, expose yourself (and your image), and try it. Once you have those lessons, you can improve and adjust until you get the results you desire.
Here then is the magic pill that you have been looking for ever since you grew up and forgot about the lesson of the bicycle: Make your learning a process.
Consider books, courses, audio programs all a part of your grander learning process. Commit to finding ways to practice what you are learning, and to finding ways to receive feedback (from yourself and/or others) about your progress.
When you place all of these wonderful learning tools in perspective, they can have a tremendous positive impact for you and your results, but only when they are seen as a piece of your personal learning puzzle, rather than the moment in time where things will change for you.
This information is important for you as an individual, but it is important for you to remember as a leader as well. If you want to help develop those you lead, you must help them create a learning process, rather than simply signing them up for the next corporate course. Leaders can help create a process (holding them accountable, asking for their learning goals, giving them feedback, as examples), or invest in learning opportunities that include a process.
Potential Pointer: We rarely learn anything, beyond a fact or morsel of knowledge in an event or moment in time. Real useful learning comes from a process of doing, trying, experiencing and applying. Despite this fact we continue to seek the “event” that will transform our performance. Remarkable learners consider the event the spark for, rather than the completion of, the learning.