Staying Smart: Activate Your Learning Activities

“The world is moving VERY fast – to keep up, you have to double your capability every three years. If leaders can’t scale – the business can’t grow.” -Kevin Lawrence, Your Oxygen Mask First

Become a Better Leader Through Continuous Learning

Smart executives are strategic thinkers! They can deviate from the norm and inspire new ideas, new insights and new thinking. To do so continuously, however, requires an effective executive learning strategy. Learning is a personal journey and we all approach it differently. Here are some thoughts on how to develop your unique, individual learning strategy for this year!

Three steps to becoming a better leader through continuous learning:

1. Identify your learning style and preferences.

2. Develop an intentional learning roadmap.

3. Make your learning actionable.

Identify Your Learning Style

Gain a deeper understanding of yourself. Why do you behave the way you do? What motivates you? This will help you develop a more effective learning style. If you have taken a DISC/Driving Forces assessment (there are many versions –my favorite is from TTI Success Insights), you will recognize that a predominant driving force is KNOWLEDGE. This Driving Force shows how you value and are motivated by knowledge. On this continuum one can be either INSTINCTIVE or INTELLECTUAL.[1]

[1] TTI Success Insights, Driving Forces Introduction to Keywords, 2016

For example, if you are an extreme INTELLECTUAL, you will find time to seek information and learn far more than you ever need for a given task. An INTELLECTUAL might want to develop more discipline to consciously cut back on research, schedule learning activities more intentionally and ensure you ACT on what you learned. Your challenge is not learning, it is in activating what you learn.

An INSTINCTIVE has the opposite challenge. You understand that intuition is good, but it can be even more effective with increased knowledge on the subject. You might strive to be more disciplined, seek more information and expand your horizon. Your challenge often does not lie in acting, but in stepping back and gathering more knowledge first.

Identifying your learning style can play a key role in developing your learning strategy, as you intentionally integrate potential areas of challenge into your learning roadmap.

Identify Your Learning Preferences

Do you prefer learning by reading, or listening? Do you prefer watching a video or listening to a podcast? Do you enjoy interacting and talking with others? If you do, is it with a small intimate group or an individual? Identify your learning preferences and focus on your time-tested learning channels, while remembering to slip in a few others to develop a more rounded perspective.

Develop Your Intentional Learning Roadmap

To be effective, develop your strategy for learning just as you have for your business. Be intentional about what areas of your life you want to strengthen.Determine how much TIME and MONEY you will allocate to your LearningBudget. Then plan it strategically. Here is an example of an annual learning roadmap.

Start small and identify one learning activity every month. Which learning style or method will be best for that learning activity? Now schedule it on your calendar.

What ongoing learning activity will be your go-to resource for growth? Will you hire a coach to help guide you and your team? Who can assist in prioritizing your best learning options? Will you join/create a mastermind group or an executive roundtable? Which summits, workshops, or forums will provide you the intellectual growth necessary to become a better strategic thinker?

Make Your Learning Actionable

I often find myself overwhelmed with so much great information when attending summits or even reading a book. There are so many golden nuggets and not enough time. The solution to acting on every learning event is FOCUS. Ask yourself:

1. What is my goal for this learning activity?

2. Identify the one thing from that learning activity that is most pertinent to that goal.

3. Develop three action steps for that one thing, including timelines and measures of success.

About the Author:

Peter Braeuler

Gravitas Premium Certified Coach

As a Gravitas Impact Four Decisions® Certified Coach, Peter brings his clients more than 30 years of experience as a business leader and executive in the financial services and insurance industries.

Peter applies the Four Decisions® methodology to his work with company executives, targeting the specific needs of the organization and the challenges they face. He focuses on creation of a plan, building the leadership skills of the executive team to generate action, and execution of the strategies developed.