Amazon, Intuit, Airbnb, Disney, FedEx and Uber…what do these companies have in common? They know their customers. They don’t just know about their customers, they know why their customers ‘hire’ them and their products to do specific jobs.
All of these companies are learning organizations. At their core is a deep desire to know why people and companies spend their money to purchase their products and services. They know the importance of constant learning, they know what they are competing against.
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Long-time readers of Lead on Purpose have seen this quote by Eric Hoffer: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” It has become the chorus I have sung over and over. You must keep learning if you want to keep growing. You need to consistently feed your mind if you don’t want to become irrelevant.
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One of the quickest, simplest approaches to performing root cause analysis (finding the answers for why something happened the way it did) is to use the 5 whys technique. Using this approach, you write a statement that contains the problem or question you want to resolve. Next you ask ‘why?’ to the statement and write the answer. If that is not the root or cause you’re looking for, you ask ‘why?’ and continue to answer the question ‘why’ until you get to the root cause and can go no further. Continue reading →
One of the key tenets of leadership is learning. Great leaders are learners. They read voraciously. They write and teach what they learn. Learning is as much a part of their life as eating.
Cultivating the desire to learn is vital to your success as a leader. Tip 5 in Management Tips: Harvard Business Review states the following:
Successful leaders keep their minds open to new things because they know that no matter how high their level of mastery, there is always more to discover…. When facing challenges, even ones you’ve faced many times before, adopt a learner’s approach—ask questions or find new ways to solve problems.
I never get tired of this great quote by Eric Hoffer: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”
Cultivate your desire to learn. Let that desire drive you to succeed.
The Product Management Perspective: Technology and markets evolve and change more rapidly every year. To be a successful product manager you must be a learner. Encourage learning among your peers, but don’t just talk about it, show it by your actions. Recommend books, forward links to blog posts or write an article in your company newsletter. You will become the go-to leader in your organization.
The number of leadership blogs that take up space in my feed reader is growing. Two recent posts struck a chord with me:
In his post The Opportunity to Influence, Mark Sanborn points to the passing of the torch from Mark Spitz to Michael Phelps. Mark quotes Spitz’s comment that Phelps now has the burden to inspire youth. Mark goes on to say: “Maybe Spitz’s comment was taken out of context or incomplete as quoted. I hope so. He seems like a good egg, so I’m puzzled about why he’d think he had to inspire anyone and secondarily why he considered that a burden.” Building up others should never be seen as a burden; it’s an opportunity that drives people to become leaders.
The second post is from Art Petty: Back to School. Art discusses the exuberance shown by many children as they head back to school after summer break. They love learning and it shows on their faces. Art makes the point that many working adults lose the fire to learn when school is over and they get into the work routine. He says:
One of the things we often lose as busy working adults is that sense of excitement about learning. It’s easy to let years and even decades slip by and focus on everything but our own self-development. Sure, we attend mandated training in our company and possibly even the periodic seminar to earn the Continuing Education Units (CEUs) mandated by our professional certifying organizations. Unfortunately, neither of those formats creates the exhilarating sense of learning and discovery that we may have had at some time earlier in our lives, but lost along the way to becoming responsible adults.
Art gives a list of activities that will help to rekindle your love of learning. It’s well worth the read.
Taking the opportunity to really have a positive influence on others and pursuing education with a determined attitude will help us on our course of continued motivating leadership.
The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about why I write my blog. I’ve given much thought as to whether it’s because of an incessant need to be heard or get my voice out. No doubt there are days when that’s the case. There are times when I want to be heard by others for whom I have a lot of respect. Please forgive me for my vanity.
After deep introspection I concluded that the reason I write is because it forces me to learn. I love learning! I crave the feeling I get when I discover a new author or find new information about some topic. The more I learn the more I realize how little I know, which drives me to learn more. I love the quote by Eric Hoffer: “In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” I never want to be ‘learned,’ but ever learning.
What are the reasons you write? If you have a blog please leave me a comment with a link so I can read what you write about.