I am a huge believer in the power of education and learning as a way of helping each of us to be the best that we can be and during a recent conversation with a colleague we were discussing why it should be that some people do not appear to be the least bit interested in being better today than they were yesterday.
There is a poster on my wall which carries a picture and a quote from the athlete Steve Prefontaine that reads, “To give anything other than your best is to sacrifice the gift” although I am not a particularly religious person I do believe that there is something fundamentally disrespectful, to our God, our parents, our heritage, our legacy and our potential to give anything other than our best, to be anything other than our best. In my world, none of us were born to be mediocre and we all have many times more potential than we ever display, so life is a never ending journey of self-improvement and self-development. We may meet our self-imposed, individual rev limiter but we can never reach our potential. So, life is a constant opus of learning, developing, executing, failing and learning again. That is one of the reasons why I use the spiral as the symbol of my business Team Massive Results. It symbolises a constant and never ending journey upwards.
Every day is indeed a school day and we have a choice whether we choose to learn slowly, by accident and over time or deliberately and quickly. There are few things as inherently satisfying and fulfilling as growing, in whatever way, intellectually, spiritually or in mastery of our craft but the one thing that does cause this personal pilgrimage to pale into black and white is the technicolour pulsating sensation of being part of a team that is growing and developing, both individually and collectively.
It is impossible for an individual to grow without it effecting the team and when the team grows all of the individuals involved will be effected. However, creating a learning environment means that we deliberately create a culture of learning, growing and developing. Like all cultures, they are contagious and the great thing is that everybody benefits from this sort of contagion.
Take a few minutes to reflect on the culture of your firm, your family, your circle of friends. Is the culture one of learning and constant growth? It is easy to tell. If you are collectively and individually ‘better’ than you were last week or last year then you have a positive culture of growth, if not how are you going to create one?
I have some businesses who very simply buy all the members of the team a copy of the same book at the start of the month and then schedule a collective debrief about their takeaways and learnings at the end of the month. It is a fast and simple way of not only helping the team to learn and grow but has the added advantage of getting everyone, literally, on the same page and sharing a common vocabulary and world view while creating a learning environment. Genius! What do you do?