Initially posted on LinkedIn
Just like a chef needs a sharp knife to do his or her best work, I need to keep my knife sharp as well. We all rely on tools to do our jobs well. For me, my “tools” are my ability to synthesize concepts, connecting dots across disciplines and experiences, and finding new ways to help others shift their perspectives and behaviors. So in order for me to the stay at the front of my game, I need to stop periodically and sharpen my knife.
And for me, that always involves learning. Sure, I could keep on cooking with a dulled knife, but the quality goes down the longer I wait. Plus, I love learning. I love the power of learning – that it is the pathway to reaching our full potential and becoming our best selves. It’s both hopeful (“There’s another level I can grow to”) as well as humbling (“I can still get better at something”). And as many of you know, I study the neuroscience of learning. The evidence is conclusive—we are learning creatures. Humans are biologically wired to learn and our brain has the neuroplasticity to develop new neural pathways all the way until death.
Learning is not just a personal experience for me. I certainly love being a learner and I also love designing amazing learning experiences for others. I have built my career around the intersection of learning and leadership, and am honored and humbled to be a thought leader in the space.
Next week, I will join 15,000 other talent management professionals from around the world at the Association for Talent Development’s annual international conference and exposition in Denver.
And while I am thrilled to be a featured speaker, I am most looking forward to what I will learn from others. Two of the keynotes are thought leaders I have long followed and incorporated into my own work — Simon Sinek and Brené Brown. And I am eager to see what Dan Schawbel will teach me about Millennials and Jeremy Stover has to say about networked leadership.
I’ll get to connect with colleagues from China and Brazil and South Africa and discover the intriguing differences we may see in our organizations/cultures as well as the many more similarities that unite us. I have been teaching and consulting for 25 years now, and what I am most struck by is that we humans are all on the same journey.
It turns out that we all share the desire to grow into our best selves. That we all appreciate being seen and heard for the unique beings we are while also being pushed to reach our fullest potential.
This is shared across every industry, every job/career, and every size of organization. It’s what makes working in talent management and leadership so intriguing – because we get to support others in reaching their potential. That we are in the business of helping others shine.
I am excited to help my colleagues shine. I have some exciting new research to share about the neuroscience of change and how we can work with the brain to help people overcome our natural resistance. I’ll also be talking about some groundbreaking work on organizational development and the conscious evolution of organizations. And of course, I’m always focused on the importance of creating a culture of learning and how blended learning boosts all kinds of amazing ROI.
If you won’t be joining us in Denver, I encourage you to still set aside some time next week to learn something. Sign up for a webinar, or meet up with colleagues to share favorite strategies, or pick up that book you’ve been meaning to get to (may I recommend Reinventing Organizations by LaLoux or Collaborative Intelligence by Markova & McArthur).
I guarantee that sharpening your knife will not only help you perform at your best, it will also leave you feeling energized and engaged. And don’t we all need a little more of that?
In the coming weeks, I will be posting on the Lynda Learning Solutions Blog, another great source for sharpening your skills. So stay tuned…
In the meantime, happy learning!