A few years ago someone I knew went out of business and as she cleared her office I noticed a handful of business books that were unread, ready to go into the skip. Around about the same time someone else lost their job as a CEO. When his office was cleared out there were a number of books left on the shelves unopened. At the time I wondered if they had read those books might things have been different.
I am a huge fan of books as you may know but it isn’t really books that this is about. It is about the desire to learn. The desire to learn is the desire to be better, in some way, tomorrow than we are today.
What does a reluctance to learn mean? Does it mean that we think there is no need to get any better? That we know all we need to know? That we are as good, as competent, as expert as we need to be? To a large degree that is exactly what it means. It doesn’t sound very appealing does it but what else can it mean?
Recently I have been working with some clients who are trying to improve their recruitment processes. When we are trying to acquire anything I feel it is important to know precisely what we are looking for and I ask clients what are the ‘must haves’ and ‘would like to haves’ for their ideal candidate. It is a great exercise.
At the top of my list of must haves, most of which are attitudinal by the way, is ‘the desire and the ability to learn’. Why? Well think about it. Even if you were to find the absolute perfect person today, will your business be the same in 12 month’s time? Or will it have grown? If the person who is perfect today can’t grow at at least the same rate as the business you are probably going to have to swap them out in a year or so. They will have made themselves surplus to requirements. Why would you employ someone that can’t or won’t grow? As an employee, why would you do that to yourself and your family?
Today you have multiple opportunities to learn and grow. Not just books; there are videos, audio books, podcasts, university, open university colleges, nightclasses and a whole host of online learning platforms. We are not short of ways to learn but we are often short of the desire to learn.
If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
What are you investing to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge that will future proof you, your business and your team?