Creating a Powerhouse of Learning

There is one characteristic all people in the business world and the workforce have in common, regardless of their position, the line of industry, trade area, organization size, national or international business activities, or ownership/employee status in the organization. It is one characteristic that has been and will always be of utmost importance for success. It plays a key role in my commitment as Executive Assistant to support business owners I work within their vision and mission to drive their businesses forward and it plays a key role for everyone who wants to pursue and continue a successful career. That characteristic is the desire to learn constantly and to never stop learning.

We know change is a constant in our lives. To stay successful and competitive in business, we need to go with the change and learn new things. Having worked for 18 years in the FEC industry, I’ve learned about the history of the bowling business.

For example, a few decades ago the bookkeeper was called scorekeeper because they would manually keep track of the leagues’ scores and league bowling was the primary income source for the proprietor. Keeping score manually is now replaced by modern electronic scoring systems. Now, open bowling is called casual bowling and is the main source of income. Dark and smoke-filled facilities are replaced with well-lit, smoke-free, inviting facilities. Social media and email campaigns didn’t exist. Advertising was through regular mail and print magazines or community brochures. If a customer had a complaint, they would call or visit the bowling center to speak with the proprietor. Today, people leave reviews on social media sites.

Not only the bowling and FEC industries but all industries are subject to change over time such as the changes described above. With all this change in our workplace, there is a strong need for learning. It’s a need we must fill by providing and taking advantage of learning opportunities. Only if we continue to learn, can we keep up with the changes surrounding us and – very importantly – grow ourselves. By growing ourselves, we grow the business. We all agree we want to be part of a growing business and not a declining one.

In my career of 30+ years working with executives on their businesses, I have observed that Intentional Learning exists when staff members who enjoy broadening their knowledge, the Learners, have the desire and take the initiative to learn. These Intentional Learners will constantly engage in and seek out new training and learning opportunities and ask meaningful questions on the job to expand their knowledge.

Their supervisor doesn’t have to ask them to visit a training boot camp or to take a course. The Intentional Learners will research what classes are out there and come to the supervisor for approval to take the course. Many Intentional Learners will even take classes and pay for the courses out of their own pockets just for the fun of learning and to be on top of their game. They enjoy learning so much,  they cannot get enough of it.

Sharing knowledge can be fun as well, and often learners are entrusted with a teaching role within the organization. They can go from learning to teaching their fellow staff members, encouraging them to more learning, as well and leading the team to higher efficiency as a result. This behavior creates a Powerhouse of Learning and a learning culture.

If a CEO would ask me in my role as an experienced Executive Assistant what I would do with the Learners on the team, here is my answer: 1. Support the Intentional Learners and nurture their desire to learn; 2. Ignite the spark of Intentional Learning by providing training opportunities; and 3. Get rid of the Non-Learners.

I’ll end with a quote from Joe Schumacker, CEO of SpareZ, and a strong advocate for lifelong learning: “If you do not learn, you cannot lead. If you do not lead, you cannot achieve. Learning leads to achieving.”

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2 Responses

  1. Rosie Salas says:

    Great article Marlies! I love the quote from Joe. Yes! Learning leads to achieving.

  2. Mary Southwick says:

    Coming from 20 years in education, I think you hit the nail on the head Marlies. You should always encourage someone who is trying to broaden their knowledge. As a 5th grade teacher, I could tell which students were encouraged to read and be curious. They had parents who modeled roles of life long learners. Thanks for the insight from the FEC world.

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