We have all heard the phrase “use it or lose it”. This applies to many aspects of our life, not just the often associated physical fitness part of our lives that we immediately think of after hearing this. It applies to our brains, our psyche, our influence, and in the leader’s world, our learning ability. In the life of the leader, learning is the capacity to effect change as a result of turning new information into action. The greatest of leaders do this proactively in response to new information that must be integrated in a world where information overload and more data “magically” translates into “better” outcomes.
The theories that state that learning is all about retaining information is as outdated as Plato’s Theory of Recollection. There are many schools of thought on the complex principles of learning. [When you have some spare time after you have read and shared my blog posts, there are fascinating and enlightening theories on how we learn.] Most of these come from varied perspectives from psychologists to educators to philosophers. Whatever school you subscribe to or may lean toward, I believe that learning as it relates to retaining information or increasing knowledge has little value for the leader’s challenge of influencing her environment and those around her.
For the leaders in today’s ever changing world, I believe that learning is all about ACTION! If the new information or knowledge does not spark action, the moment of learning may have been lost. Or its impact may have, at the very least, been diminished. The knowledge that is gained or new information that is obtained only demonstrates its value when it is used to turn a decision into action. An idea into its execution. Meaningful data into a call to act on the data.
All of the right information at the right time with the right people is wasted data if the courageous leader does not step forward to decide to act. And even if the decision is the “wrong” decision, the result is still learning. Some would argue that this is when the most insight is gained as we often look for those lessons in the moments of failure. And those paralyzed by indecision and the inability to act will not benefit from the lesson to be taught. So use the information before you lose the opportunity to learn and act. The best part of learning is the action that closely follows the lesson.
Thank you again for reading and sharing. Have a great day and do great things…and don’t ever stop learning.
“An organization’s ability to learn, & translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” ~ Jack Welch
“Strong reasons make strong actions.” ~Shakespeare