When I was building my first company, I was loving the amount of things I was learning every day. I was a sponge and very curious of what was best practice and how others had achieved their success.
I was a business book junkie. I was reading up to 4 business books a week at the height of my addiction for a better, faster, easier way to grow a business. I was reading books from thought leaders – Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, Verne Harnish, Michael Porter, Robert Bloom, Jeffery Moore. You get the picture. We were facing many challenges and I did not want to guess a way forward. I wanted to approach the fundamental challenge of building a business with some direction.
In building a team – one of the core values of myself and my team members was – “Humble enough to want to learn every day”. I wanted to ensure we were hiring these people. I had a huge thirst for more information and I wanted to surround myself with people who wanted to learn too.
Here are the steps we took to ensure we were all learning every day:
1. Regular Daily Meeting – to ensure we were providing feedback to each other on what we were learning about markets, team members, customers, etc.
2. Monthly “Book Club” – as a leadership team we picked books that we thought might help a challenge we were facing and then discuss after the fact what we could implement.
3. Professional Development Forecast – we created in our 36 month forecast an assumed spend on professional development for every member of our team.
4. Performance Reviews – we used our individual One Page Plans to identify what our individual priorities were to grow the company aligned with our corporate priorities, as well as what we did have to achieve in growing ourselves for the next 90 days. Our performance reviews included how progressed the company, as well as ourselves. Very powerful!
5. Open Lunch and Learns – we created a schedule where team members could suggest a topic and/or lead the session. There is nothing better than learning from your peers.
6. Offsite Professional Development – every year as CEO and still to this day, I attend 3 professional development conferences to expand and learn more about how to grow companies. The three conferences I attend have world renowned business thoughts leaders:
“Humble – enough to learn everyday” is still one of my core values. I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work with growing companies and leadership teams that have the same core values. A lot of the steps outlined above are not hard to implement, the key is making them a priority. Making the time to learn every day and sharing with your peers. The most successful companies big and small have prioritized plan for learning – do you? This will be one of your best investments ever – in your team.