Reviews & Profiles
Succeeding: Make learning your priority
Posted Tuesday, February 26 2013 at 00:00
With time passing by quickly, those who are not learning will be left behind. It’s that simple. After all, it’s estimated that every two years, 50 per cent of what you knew or you were doing becomes obsolete. That means, every four years, without learning new things you could find yourself being irrelevant. The figure might be a bit exaggerated but I also believe it’s close especially in dynamic industries.
Think of the computers of four years ago. Think of the headline makers four years ago. Do you remember sports personalities of four years ago? Entrepreneur of the year four years ago? What was your favourite TV show four years ago? Bestselling book of four years ago? PAM awards stars of 2009? Artiste of the year – four years ago – whether local or international? Of the hottest songs of 2009, how many are still hitting the air waves? Of the celebrated businesses of 2009, how many are still reigning high? Let’s bring it closer…of the top performers in your organisation who were flying in 2009, how many are still flying?
If you look closely, I bet a good portion has fallen off the radar. It’s a scary thought but that’s life. As I began typing these thoughts, I surprised myself too.
Whenever I get a chance to emphasise this thought, I do. And it’s this – “What got you up there, won’t keep you there”. You have to keep learning. Keep shifting gears or else you will get off the radar.
Let me digress a bit off the subject of learning. When it comes to advertising, my favourite company is Coca Cola. They are always changing their ads, always recreating, and always stretching. For example, during the Valentines fever days, they had a campaign on TV.
I remember seeing it on February 13. Then, the following morning of February 14, they had agents handing out red roses on the road side and besides them were red balloons matching what was on TV. They could have had print ads somewhere matching the same. Talk about integrated marketing. Should we then get surprised that they are number one when it comes to soft drinks’ market share? No. The company is always on the edge.
And that’s the same spirit you and I must hone everyday and if possible every waking moment. A creative and learning spirit. Truth is, sometimes I switch off, but now that am telling you, I am awake again.
Read, go for further studies if you can, look out for new ideas from friends and foes. From competitors to collaborators.
Keep searching for anything that will give you an edge. Make learning your new priority if it hasn’t been. But true learning is in implementation. Let’s borrow from Jack Welch’s wisdom “The operative assumption today is that someone, somewhere, has a better idea; and the operative compulsion is to find out who has that better idea, learn it and put it into action – fast” the former General Electric Chairman said.
Ethan is the CEO of Success Africa, a motivational speaker, author and HR consultant.