The 21st Century Leader

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

We know that circumstances can change in an instant, and because of that, learning agility is of the utmost importance. We must unlearn and relearn constantly to keep up with all the changes we encounter in life. Think about how differently you do your work now, compared to how you did your work five years ago. Changing and adapting is vital to success – remaining the same is simply not an option.

So how do you do it? How do you keep up to date with the changes in your industry or role? How do you make sure you’re constantly learning, unlearning, and relearning? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1)    Network, network, network. Internally and externally. You can learn something from anyone, and it’s important to have to have a friend or a group you can tap into when you have a problem to solve. You can even use these connections to put others in touch with each other and introduce people that can use their specializations. You can do this on LinkedIn or in person, by joining groups or attending events. My favorite is Rotary International – I have met some amazing people this way and made some wonderful friends.

2)    Join an industry trade association. I am a member of The Association of Talent Development (ATD) and I truly get a lot out of that membership! I get to learn from many others who know things that I don’t. It’s also a great way to learn about what is on the horizon in the industry, like new tools or approaches.

3)    Learn from those in your company in a different department. The more you know about the company, the more credible you are when trying to sell an idea – a new project or maybe a promotion. Set up time with colleagues who you have limited interactions with, and learn about their processes, skills, and what makes them good at their jobs. 

Never stop learning, never stop unlearning and relearning, and always be ready to embrace change and improvement.