Learning is a team sport.

I am drowning in information! I vowed to break my info addiction in 2012 by using a strict quality filter. Guess what? I have a stack of books and articles that looks daunting and my eagerness to devour these gems is shortening my sleep pattern. Oh well. At least I have wiped out virtually all of those email newsletters that walk the line between information and sales pitch narrowly. If you are a ‘solopreneur’ you probably understand how necessary it is to keep learning. It can be a lonely journey. It is really of little use to consume all this great information if you cannot apply it in your business and life. The best learning takes place when you can ‘churn’ the information in conversation with others. I have two suggestions-

If you are a sole operator you need to get an education partner. This person can be another business owner, trusted advisor, coach or mentor. You meet this person at least twice a month and you ‘churn’ your learning. You discuss ideas and topics you have read or experienced and look for ways to apply this information in your business. For example, as a coach I have a few clients for whom I am the education partner. While reading the Steve Jobs biography we also reviewed Multipliers by Liz Wiseman. We churned through behavioural examples in the Jobs biography, explored the results and used Multipliers as a guide to our own behaviours. It was a fantastic process and one in which we all learned a great deal. We took it to another level with an overlay of an extended disc profile. I encouraged my clients to use a journal to capture our observations and ideas.

If you are a leader in a larger business you have another option. You may still opt to use a coach, however I recommend you ‘anoint’ a team member as the ‘Learning Leader’ or whatever name suits. You may opt to have this role on a rotation. Choose a person who shows a propensity for learning and discussion to get started. You may identify some key areas of development and then set up a learning plan. This can take all sorts of paths. For example I have a client who initiated a learning program for Salesforce. The team meets every fortnight (twice per month) and explores ways to use Salesforce in new ways and solidifies the knowledge of basic work-flows. My client reports higher levels of enthusiasm for the CRM, greater utilisation and shared ownership of the information integrity. Recently they implemented the Content Delivery tool in Salesforce with great early results. This program will continue through April and then they are moving to a learning program focused on personal and interpersonal leadership skills.

  • Don’t take your learning journey alone.
  • Set up a learning plan with goals.
  • Appoint a ‘learning leader’/educator in your organisation
  • Use a journal to capture ideas and insights
  • Sustain the process with measurement

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