Originally Printed: August 18, 2009
Are you teaching your competition a lesson? Or is your competition teaching you?
They say you can learn a lot from children. Even so, there’s one thing we don’t want to learn. Children across the land are going “back to school.” This means, of course, that they’ve been out of school; they took a break from learning; they stopped improving themselves. Can you imagine what would happen if adults functioned the same way?
Can you imagine what would happen if adults functioned the same way?
Sadly, it doesn’t take much imagination to answer that question. Are there people all around you who are making a dire mistake? Indeed, there are entire organizations who are plagued by this “elephant in the office.”
In these unfortunate organizations, experiences – in fact entire days – are tossed aside as being worthless because people failed to leverage the events of the day by asking one simple question:
“What can we learn from this experience?”
Intellectually, people know they should be driving “learning organizations.” Such companies out perform their competition. Yet, in some organizations, day after day unravels and the question above is not being asked.
It’s a fact: If you don’t teach yourself, you’ll be tutored by your competition.
Given the current state of the economy, there is no doubt about it: School is in session. We’d best sit up in our seat and take notes. Only the ‘A’ students will graduate. Here are questions that will ensure you move to the head of the class:
- During this period, what strengths have we discovered that we possess?
- What did we learn from the period of prosperity that proceeded this recession – that we will remember to apply when the economy speeds up?
- What have we done in past periods of difficulty that we can replicate now?
- What have we learned about our customer needs that will guide us?
- What motivations can we tap into that will inspire greater accountability?
Vince Lombardi once stated, “I never said it would be easy. I only said it would be worth it.” This inspires an additional question that will ensure you harvest perhaps the most important lesson: