Lifelong learning, coupled with experience will help us to be our best selves. Not too many people would argue with that.
What is sometimes overlooked is that all too often as we “move up the ranks”, or just become the “experienced” person, we can forget some of the lessons that we learned along the way. It happens to the best of us, no matter your position or age, whether it is a work related learning or a personal one!
“Lessons that come easy are not lessons at all. They are gracious acts of luck. Yet lessons learned the hard way are lessons never forgotten.” Don Williams Jr.
CEOs who built their career over many years, through multiple different roles might easily forget some of those lessons they learned as salespeople or accountants, engineers or project managers. The skills that helped them to get to the top can sometimes be forgotten in the crazy busyness that comes with the role. Interpersonal skills, time management skills, sales skills or even people management skills might not be given the same level of importance.
Salespeople might take for granted that they know their role cold, because they have been doing it so long. Those good habits they developed along the way slip. Notes are not taken, agendas not created, meetings not well managed or opportunities lost because they did not do the leg work!
“Some lessons can’t be taught. They simply have to be learned.” Jodi Picoult
The bottom line is that this can happen to anyone, so what can you do about it?
- Self evaluation. Stop and really assess whether you are slipping into bad habits and/or losing good habits. Maybe its a monthly thing or a quarterly thing … but at a minimum you should do this annually. Be brutally honest with yourself.
- Consciously develop good habits and constantly be working on them. Obviously these should be habits that are important to your world.
- Get feedback. Ask people how you are doing. It doesn’t need to be a formal thing (or it could be) but get candid feedback so that you can be aware of how others view you.
- Park the ego. How many times have you seen others who think they know it all just because they have experience or have a title. Ego can be your biggest enemy and prevent you from being your best.
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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