The ‘Lifelong Learner’ Mindset

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The ‘Lifelong Learner’ Mindset


Matthew: One observation I had very strongly after leaving my first business was, I had spent a lot of my time, a lot of my time dealing with a small handful of employees who were challenging in one way or another. They needed to develop, or they were disruptive in some way. When you have employees, you know, there’s a bell curve, there are some who are awesome. There’s a big middle of people who are basically pretty good. And then, you know, if you over ten years or you employ a few hundred people, there’s going to be a few of them that are just bloody awful. Yeah. And I spend most of my HR time, most of my employee time dealing with the difficult ones. And what I should have been doing was that behavior or that action or that lack of development or that whatever it is, that is a problem that’s got to stop or else, you know, and spend little. Time, but be much clearer with them about what needs to change and not agonize over it. You know, but I should have been spending more time with the people who were performing amazingly and recognizing and validating their work and supporting them and helping them be awesome and not get bored and not leave. And then the people who are on the sort of the higher end of the middle bell curve. How do you get them to be awesome, right? Instead of trying to make somebody bad into somebody who’s adequate, I should have been making someone good into somebody awesome. And it’s about the same amount of effort and intervention, but the payoff is much higher, right? So, it’s an easy thing to say because unfortunately, challenging HR problems absorb a lot of time. There are legal implications, and you must coach. And so that’s observation number one, pay more attention to the good people.
Observation number two. Company culture is a critical purpose kind of how you communicate that to everybody, and how you enlist and engage people in it. And there’s no one single thing that you do. But if you don’t do anything, if you are unconscious of the company culture that you want, you will get a company culture. But it may be not the one you like. Okay, there is always a company culture, but part of your job, almost all your job in some ways as a leader is to shape mold, and direct the culture I think knowing that doesn’t make it easy, but knowing it is important.
And the third thing, I say this today because I’m in my early fifties and I’m reflecting on a long career and I’m hoping I’ve got a long career ahead of me. And I’m doing quite a lot of work with a management coach and I’m doing just started a project with a communications consultant and a kind of a coach in that area who’s really, amazing. The point I’m getting here is that learning never stops. Here I am. You can go into a bookstore and there are hundreds of business books and business autobiographies of people saying, I’m awesome. I know everything. I’ve got all the answers, I’ve solved all the problems. And I am calling B.S. on that. Because if you think you’ve solved all the problems, you’ve got a big problem. It’s always learning, learning, learning, learning, learning, getting better, getting better, getting better. And that’s a hard realization. And I think in my twenties, I thought I knew it all. I was a very kind cocky kid. And I went around sort of being and I hope I’m a lot humbler and a lot more willing to learn now.

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