You may well have heard the song “School’s out” by Alice Cooper. I remember, when I was young, I always listened to that particular song at this time of the year. I really liked the song and consequently enjoyed listening to it. The reason for playing it was clear – now it is time for summer break – no more ‘stuff’ to learn.
Currently I work with enhancing organizations efficiency and the ways in which they create value for the customers. I have found that learning within an organization is an essential part of striving for Business Excellence. As your organization contains people, people who create the value that your customer is expecting, the ability of these people to become better in their work and also better as a person is essential.
In one of my seminars I talk about the challenges that our organizations have to face in the future. To just sum them up, I can say that the challenges are increasing at a faster pace than many would have expected. To be able to keep up and to continue to excel you need to continuously improve. You either develop or dismantle a business, there is no status quo. That is seen in relationship to the market and the competition from other organizations doing the same thing as you. As the market and the competitors develop, you either lose or gain positions, all depending on the development that is taking place.
The same goes for you as a person. You either develop your skills or you fall behind, as others develop their skills and become better at whatever is being done. If you are a chef, there is always some other chef who develops their skills and recipes. If you are a software developer, there is always some other software developer who learns something new and can do a better job. If you are a teacher, there is always some other teacher who develops themselves and can teach new things in a better way. If you are a manager there is always some other manager who can pick up a thing or two from a book or at a seminar, and can thereafter manage the business better. If you are a nurse there is always some other nurse who learns new medical skills and can take care of patients in a better way.
The constant pressure to do the job faster and to a higher standard at the same time as the competition for skilled and willing people has increased, means that you therefore need to take your own learning seriously.
Schools are out in a couple of weeks and the vacation period is commencing. For those of us living in the northern part of Europe there is a big focus on having a break during the summer. However, for both for students and those working, there is no real summer break from learning. Just because we are on vacation, does not mean that we should stop learning. The vacation is actually a perfect time to learn and to reflect. It is a time when you are not stressed by everything else going on, or things that just HAVE to be finished by a certain deadline. Use this time wisely, buy yourself several good books in your field of expertise or in something with which you are not so familiar but about which you wish to learn more. Study them and push yourself to move forward this summer.
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