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Don’t kind yourself – You can’t succeed if you don’t continue to learn.

Although a lot of success comes from doing what you already know to do, that’s merely table stakes. Necessary, but insufficient.

The ‘Been There Done That’ Mistake

When someone assumes that what worked to solve yesterday’s problems is sufficient for solving today’s problems, they’re truly asking for trouble:

  1. A quick fix, based on “what’s worked in the past,” typically treats only the symptoms of the problem. And symptoms have a tendency to reappear until the underlying problem is actually addressed.
  2. Today’s problems are decidedly complex and subtle, so simply trying to overlay “what’s worked in the past” is not only unimaginative and unproductive, it’s likely also fraught with several unintended consequences which might just make things worse than they already are.
  3. While what you already know might work just fine, it leaves the opportunity of being STELLAR just sitting there for someone ELSE to pick up and run with.

Yesterday’s News is OLD News

Your challenge, then, is to find (and help create) NEW solutions – not just provide the same ol’ same ol’. (Sure, ‘consistency’ matters, but ‘sameness’ can create a slippery slope of a lackluster reputation.)

So in order to meet challenges you face, you need to go further.

  • You need to expand your understanding of the issues at hand and what made them that way
  • You need to be able to recognize and apply relevant insights gleaned from tangential sources
  • You need to creatively brainstorm the possibilities
  • You need to find not just A way, but a BETTER way

“If All You Have is a Hammer, All Your Problems Will Look Like Nails”

There are some very important reasons to keep expanding what you know:

  1. People who are actively learning tend to be in a better mood, demonstrate more of an ability to think on their feet, and generally get more done.
  2. People who are actively learning tend to connect better with those around them – which greatly facilitates teamwork and collaboration.
  3. People who are actively learning naturally encourage others to actively learn, and perform at a higher level, as well

So Where CAN You Learn?

The short answer is EVERYWHERE:

  • friends
  • coworkers
  • staff
  • bosses
  • customers
  • vendors
  • books
  • articles
  • trade journals
  • magazines
  • television
  • podcasts
  • TED Talks
  • radio
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • audio-books
  • e-books
  • hobbies
  • your company’s training department
  • the Internet
  • continuing ed classes
  • textbooks
  • computer-based training
  • manuals
  • SMEs (subject matter experts)
  • white papers
  • mentors
  • your coach!
  • spending some time just quietly thinking

And this is hardly an exhaustive list.

Expanding Your Toolkit

To become (or continue to be) a more compelling leader, you simply must keep learning.

There’s no shortcut. But it’s not that difficult.

You really just have to get curious about something – and then start wondering about it!

Ready? GO!

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