Almost all leaders have a competitive instinct that manifests itself in different ways. One way is a need and a desire to “win.” The best way to put yourself in a position to succeed is to be better prepared, educated, and trained than your competitors. Lifelong learning is a significant trait in all successful people.
Lifelong learning encompasses all facets of life—technical knowledge, interpersonal skills, team member development, organization building, computer and other technology skills, process understanding, competitive pressures, and economic and fiscal matters—to name a few.
How do you do this? Having the desire is the biggest part of the battle; once you are committed to your need to grow intellectually, every daily interaction is an opportunity to learn. Here are some easy ones:
- Read books, newspapers, and magazines.
- Use the internet to research leadership skills, business trends, and the worlds of your customers and suppliers.
- Participate in industry or community trade groups and read the related publications.
- Become attuned to the latest technology and people (generational) issues.
- Study companies you admire and learn what got them to where they are today.
- Join a business owners group similar to Vistage.
- Spend time with your professional team—accountants, lawyers, insurance broker—talking business.
- Interact with your team members more often.
It is a leader’s responsibility to not only improve themselves, but also to make their team better. Help your team members to be the best they can be. Share your ideas. Moderate a review of a leadership or business book you found meaningful. You could also orchestrate a periodic (weekly or monthly) session discussing topics of interest with your team—efficiency, quality, customer service, etc.
Inquire, watch, listen, and learn. Challenge yourself to become a better decision maker and leader each and every day. Successful people embrace the concept of continuous improvement.
Does your private company have an advisory board? What value has the board provided to your business? Share in the comments.