Do you continuously find yourself reading, listening to informational programs, taking courses, pursuing new life experiences, formal training experiences or pursuing a graduate degree? Have you been perplexed by your continuous thirst for knowledge? If so, you are not alone.
Researchers have long noted that CEOs and entrepreneurs tend to be continuous learners. In fact, a recent study of successful business owners found that 100% of the participants identified themselves as continuous learners and considered a commitment to continuous learning a critical factor to long-term business success. Further, a large number of successful business owners stated that one of the primary leadership competencies for long-term business sustainability and success was the leader’s desire, discipline, and ability to learn.
How then, do successful, super-busy business owners and CEOs learn?
The most common methods of continuous individual learning by successful entrepreneurs include:
Reading - Most CEOs are avid, if not voracious, readers, understanding that reading is a foundational method of gaining knowledge and learning.
Technology - The use of technology to access audio books, podcasts, and news for individual learning appears to be replacing or improving some of the more traditional methods of accessing learning opportunities.
Formal education – The majority of CEOs continue their formal education throughout their career, often completing graduate degrees in business or within their field. Going back to school can serve as a refresher and bring the CEOs up to date in a more formal, structured setting.
Training programs - Continuing education units, seminars, and specialized training programs are very effective learning opportunities for CEOs. They are specialized in topic, so the CEO understands the expected outcome and knowledge growth as a result of their training investment.
What type of individual learning has the most impact on the success of entrepreneurial ventures?
In a recent study, seasoned successful CEOs identified their commitment toward learning as an attitude, and maintained an attitude to learn from all situations, positive or negative. These CEOs felt that their most valued learning opportunities came from:
1) Learning by previous experiences – observing and reflecting on what did or did not work
2) Learning from others – to include parental examples in business, associates, mentors, and collaborative peer groups
3) Learning from failure – one of the most treasured learning experiences by successful CEOs. The ability and willingness to turn perceived failures into individual learning opportunities can serve as deep, meaningful pivot points in the leader’s path toward to success.
In conclusion, leaders recognize that to successfully navigate their organization toward success rather than failure they must make wise, informed decisions. In his book, Behold Your God: Rethinking God Biblically (2013), John Snyder defines wisdom as the “ability to apply knowledge skillfully”. Successful CEOs understand they need adequate knowledge to make wise decisions and they, like you, have a continuous thirst for knowledge as committed lifelong learners.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As a Convene Chair in Tyler, Texas, Randy engages business owners and CEOs in an executive team environment to profitably grow their businesses and increase their leadership impact using peer-to-peer collaboration and one-to-one coaching.