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Stories and insights on how successful business people use their strengths and talent to enjoy greater professional success and life fulfillment.

Lifelong Learning: A Leader’s Best Asset

Thoughts on effective leadership

I love when I look at someone’s bio and see they describe themselves as a lifelong learner. We should all be.

Continued learning is crucial to a more fulfilled life and in leadership, it can be one of your most useful tools. It’s about having an insatiable thirst to explore new concepts, approaches, and theories and not settle for what you already know. How you go about it doesn’t matter; after all, we have an unprecedented well of resources at our disposal to learn new things. What matters is that you make the time to challenge yourself with new ideas or practices, both professionally and personally.

At its essence, lifelong learning is about being curious. Those who know or have worked with me, know that I’m a big believer in curiosity as a primary driver of human excellence. It’s the way I go about my life and my coaching, and it’s how I ask my clients to approach the coaching, too. As leaders, it opens them up to obtain results that far exceed their expectations.

A True Lifelong Learner 

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of attending a small retreat with Kathy Kolbe, the founder and theorist of the Kolbe System™. Kathy started Kolbe Corp 40 years ago. Now 80 years old, she runs a new business called Dynamynd, through which she keeps on building her understanding of how humans take action and how those actions impact their lives. Just as she’s always done, she continues to explore multiple theories to transform education and healthcare for the better.

Kathy is the epitome of a lifelong learner; curious, passionate, never satisfied with how much and what she knows. There is also something else she does that’s remarkable and makes her a leader in her field; she is a model for all other leaders who want to embrace lifelong learning.

Learning As a Team 

Kathy used the retreat to share a new theory she has been working on, bringing her thoughts to key staff members and devoted Kolbe consultants. She wanted real input and dialogue on what made sense and was looking for other perspectives she might have not yet considered. Not only did she invite us into the learning so we, too, could expand our horizons; she also made us a part of her learning process.

She was open to put ideas she had been exploring for months on the table and question them again. She was humble enough to know that there was more that she could discover by engaging the group, as opposed to going at it alone. It didn’t hurt that she had gathered a team of people who were all curious lifelong learners like her.   

For us attendees, it was thrilling to be part of the robust conversation that ensued. We were all on the edge of our chairs as we stretched our understanding of the Kolbe Concept® in ways we had not imagined possible.

I have been a Kolbe Certified™ Consultant using the Kolbe theory for twenty years. My knowledge and use of the tool are well respected and sought-after by my clients and even other Kolbe consultants. Yet I stay open to keep learning new things about it, so I loved the chance to take a deep dive into the new ideas.  

On To You

When was the last time you really stretched yourself by learning something new? How do you cultivate curiosity in yourself and your team? How can you engage them in a collaborative learning process and push each other to develop new ways of thinking or new approaches to the work?

Take the time to explore something new, either at a personal or professional level. Learning in one area of your life can bring you new ideas and results in other areas as well. In the process, you will feel more alive and engaged in your life than you have in ages.

And by the way, stay tuned for the new concepts being developed for the Kolbe System™. I will share them when they are fully baked and ready to be introduced.  I am sure they will lead to new breakthroughs for all of us.

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