Norton: Looking for continuous improvement? Focus on continuous learning
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the earth, as the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” — Eric Hoffer
And since it seems like the world is changing at the speed of thought, we will all do well to focus on the way we grow, evolve, and learn.
One of the mantras that we hear with greater frequency these days is around the term continuous improvement. Typically, we hear the term continuous improvement when it comes to our efforts to continually strive to improve our products, services, and processes. However, we are now seeing the concept played out when it comes to people as well. The push to be better, faster, smarter, and stronger has many top achievers placing a focus on their own continuous improvement.
In our attempt at being more, doing more, and having more, we have to make sure that we are always breaking through our comfort zones. And whether it is to become better, faster, smarter, or stronger, the more that we take the time to learn and grow, the greater likelihood we have of continuous improvement in every area of our lives.
If we are looking to be better at something, we can learn more through reading, attending seminars, and receiving coaching or mentoring. As we look to move faster and become more efficient, there are tips and techniques that we can learn to make sure we are keeping up with others who are accomplishing more in less time. And when it comes to being smarter, education is available to us in many different forms.
Online learning, peer-to-peer learning, formal education, and classes of every kind make it so easy to increase our knowledge. For those looking to get physically stronger, it’s not just about spending time working out or being in the gym, it’s about learning different exercises, trying new techniques and movements, and being willing to spend time learning how diet impacts strength.
And if we are hoping to become mentally, emotionally, or spiritually stronger, there are books, counselors, close friends, and best practices we can learn to develop so that we continue our improvement in each of these areas of life too.
As consumers, I am confident that we are all thankful for companies who work towards continuous improvement in their products, services, and processes. And if we are part of working for any organization, we are probably extremely grateful when our company places the same amount of energy and emphasis on the continuous improvement of their people.
Companies who invest in their people enjoy the benefits of less employee turnover, higher revenues, better morale, and greater shareholder value. When companies choose to invest in the continuous learning of their people, through both formal and informal education, they will also experience greater engagement, which in turn, creates greater productivity.
There is a lot of wisdom to be found in Dr. Denis Waitley’s amazingly profound words, “Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.” Just when we think we have mastered something, that something changes, technology changes, and we are no longer seen as the expert.
Just ask anyone who is forced to listen to us tell them how we “used to do” something when we were their age. It used to be we could have comfort knowing that we were experts in something 10 years or more ago, then it was five years ago, and then maybe two years ago. Now, unless we keep up with our own continuous improvement, six months ago no longer qualifies us as experts.
So how about you? Is there still room to grow and learn? Are there interests in your life where you still enjoy expanding your knowledge? As always I would love to hear your story at email@example.com and when we can continuously improve through continuous learning, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is the Chief Revenue Officer for Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant, business, and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.