A Subtle Shift… and a Whole New World
Angie Morgan, October 2, 2017
“Leadership and learning are indispensible to each other.”
– John F Kennedy
“I didn’t realize that.”
I found myself repeating this phrase while touring the Imperial War Museum in London while on vacation with my family.
While reading charts and reviewing artifacts on WWI and WWII history, I was surprised by how my understanding of these world events was shaped by being American and serving in the Marines. These exhibits were presenting new information that complemented my studies. It was enlightening!
Later that evening, I spent time reflecting on how easy it is to get fixated on my own perspective, and how just a subtle shift could open my eyes to a whole new realm of learning.
If you’re like me, maybe you’ve found yourself getting comfortable in your own perspective from time to time. This can show up as a lack of curiosity, a disinterest in new knowledge, or even an overstatement of your awareness – such as “I know that already.” The reality is that our learning is never complete.
When we’re not stretching our perspective and growing our knowledge base, we become complacent and dull. We even risk being ignorant and irrelevant.
To stay fresh and learn continuously, we can all commit to actions that help us enhance our perspective, and – quite possibly – open our mind:
- Understand the work of your colleagues. It’s quite easy to become siloed at work, yet when you take the time to learn other business functions you begin to see how the pieces of the puzzle work together.
- Read beyond business literature. Some of the greatest lessons in life are buried in fiction.
- Watch a different news channel. Isn’t it funny how cable news can be an echo chamber? Spend a week watching a different channel to gain a broader perspective on how news events are interpreted.
- Talk to someone who you disagree with. Listen with an open mind and seek to understand (not to be understood).
- Go to a museum … especially one you’re not drawn to. If you don’t “get” art, spend a few hours trying to “get it.” Often our lack of understanding has nothing to do with our intellectual ability and more to do with our inability to be curious and appreciative.
- Use the iBooks or Kindle app on your phone to read while you wait. Personally, I’ve switched from “Facebooking” to reading and I’ve found my downtime more inspired.
As leaders, learning can happen anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. We don’t have to wait for the right moments – we can seek them out each day.