Continual Development: Wash, Rinse, Repeat!

By Andrew Jennings, CCO

Credit : Attribution - Print © Can Stock Photo Inc. : MaziramaSummertime is here again–which means family vacations and children out of school for the summer. For those in education, the summer means a lot of preparation for the next school year. It won’t be long before everyone is back in the classroom and trying to remember what it was they learned before the summer holiday.

The start of every school year begins with a recap of the material covered at the end of the previous year. Why is that? Surely we can all remember what we learned just a few weeks ago, or in some cases, months ago? The problem is that without continual reinforcement, or a continual learning environment our brains start to forget things.

Think about a time you attended a one-day or two-day training course. The material was excellent, the principles straight forward and impactful, and yet, what happened? After a few days back at the office, the enthusiasm dwindled and soon enough, the lessons learned were forgotten. To prevent this attrition of knowledge, we need to continually reinforce the new principals and habits we are trying to implement. One-time training sessions are rapidly being replaced by longer term personal development engagements. This ensures that new principles are implemented and the full benefit of the training is recognized.

Continual Development

This idea of continual development comes naturally to great leaders. They have what is commonly referred to as a growth mindset. For these Fearless Leaders problems are opportunities to try something new, failure is the opportunity to learn from mistakes and do things differently next time, success is the opportunity to identify what works and repeat those actions.

Fearless Leaders have a growth mindset; they identify themselves by what they learn along the way, not by outcomes. Click To TweetThese leaders are also voracious readers, they take time to stay up to date with the latest leadership thinking, recognizing where they could do things differently, better, more efficiently. They do not get stuck in self-doubt when they make a mistake. Why? They do not identify themselves by the outcome of their actions, but what they have learned along the way. For these growth minded Fearless Leaders, the world is a never-ending source of education.

Exercise: Wash, Rinse, Repeat!

The human brain is like a muscle, it requires constant exercise to get stronger. So many of us stop seeking learning opportunities when we leave an education environment, we neglect to exercise our brains. The challenge with any exercise is that it can be hard to be self-motivated. If that’s true for you, surround yourself with people that challenge your thinking. Find a coach, a mentor, a peer group of learners (book clubs and round tables can be good source for this). Once you re-engage with learning, just like any exercise, you will begin to see results…positive results. Then, it is only a matter of time before you join the ranks of Fearless Leaders (who have tapped into their growth mindset) and set an example for all your colleagues to follow. Before you know it, your entire organization will be on the same path of continual development. Creating opportunities from every interaction, always moving forward and not dwelling on that past, riding the wave of change rather than just managing it…just imagine what that will do for the overall results of your organization!