2018-11-12 Issue 76 Fundamental Behavior 21 Be A Lifelong Learner
The poet and philosopher Paul Valéry once wrote, “The future…is no longer quite what it used to be.” Try explaining a social media manager, ride share service driver, or drone operator to someone 25 years ago and you will see Valéry’s point. The BBC estimates that 1/3 of children entering elementary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist. LinkedIn’s talent research shows that half of today’s most in-demand skills weren’t even on the list three years ago.
To be successful in today’s rapidly changing world, you need the ability to quickly grow and adapt your skills. What you know is less relevant than what you may learn, and knowing the answer to questions is less critical than having the ability to ask the right questions in the first place.
In his article, Make Learning a Lifelong Habit, John Coleman gives us some advice on how we can develop the habit of continuous learning:
1. Articulate the outcomes you’d like to achieve and set realistic goals. What is it that you would like to learn? I love learning about different cultures, organizational psychology, and sociology, and my favorite way to learn is by reading. But given my family obligations and long commute, reading 100 books per year is just not realistic. So I accomplish my learning goals by using my commute to listen to podcasts on these subjects.
2. Develop a learning community. Consider joining an organization or book club focused on the topics you’d like to learn, or take a class. I love attending events that feature speakers on topics I want to study.
3. Ditch the distractions. Multitasking makes the deep concentration needed for real learning difficult or impossible. Set aside dedicated time for learning and minimize interruptions.
4. Use technology to supplement learning. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online classes that allow people to learn from some of the world’s most brilliant people from wherever they happen to be. Take a look at the list here. Audiobooks and e-readers make it possible to have a book on hand almost any time. Use your time commuting or exercising to learn something new.
And being a lifelong learner will not only benefit you. It will also help YKK become a more successful company. Research by Bersin found that companies that effectively nurture their workforce’s desire to learn are at least 30% more likely to be market leaders in their industries over an extended period of time.
So keep learning and share your knowledge with others. The more of us who make it a practice to continue to learn, the more of a learning culture we will create at YKK. Companies that learn fastest and adapt well to changing environments perform the best over time.
Jessica Cork Vice
President, Public Relations and Communications
YKK Corporation of America