When ON-Brand Partners created our online collaboration and learning community for clients, the ON2net, eight years ago, we wanted it to be ‘a place for people who want to create better organisations – organisations with renewed purpose where everyone is engaged, empowered and excited to deliver on it’s brand promise and improve performance’.
And to do that, we knew we needed to share a range of blogs and articles that got people thinking differently, and stepping out of their comfort zone. Think of the ON2net as a form of self learning that is less about downloading and being tested on resources, and more about exposure to new perspectives that generate real insight and related conversation. It's important, if not critical today, that managers are exposed to a diverse range of thinking, and not just from within their organisation because, as Gary Hamel says...
"My fundamental belief is that if a company wants to see the future, 80 percent of what it is going to have to learn will be from outside its own industry."
This related article, For Those Who Want to Lead, Read, originally shared with me by Suzi McAlpine from The Leaders Digest, talks a lot to the need for leaders to read about what others, outside their industry, are doing to create better organisations. In an age when most people are supposedly reading less, and at a shallower level because they are so "busy", the title says it all.
The article says that "broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness". All those things we are passionate about in our ON2net community.
I particularly like this recommendation...
"Apply your reading to your work. Are you struggling with a problem at work? Pick up a book on neuroscience or psychology and see if there are ways in which you can apply the lessons from those fields to your profession."
I have no doubt that successful businesses going forward will be the ones that understand critical concepts like the psychology of humans (those great regulators of success) and how to get the best out of them. And there is an absolute wealth of great, free, knowledge across the internet on subjects like this, so lack of access to other peoples insights and new ways of doing things can never be an excuse. Strangely, so many leaders seem to want to do it on their own, when so much insight off the back of what others have done, is already available to help shape their thinking.
And remember learning shouldn't be a nice to have in your job, it should be integral to your job. Try dedicating just 1% of your time to self development and you'll likely find the other 99% of your time is so much easier to manage. We encourage our community members to commit to spending just 1% of their time, looking beyond their "busy" day, to seek out better ways of doing things. Ways that will likely save them a lot more then the 1% of time they allocate to them.
It still surprises me how many senior leaders are sceptical of the value of investing in culture as a critical foundation for future success, but if they were to scan most of the publications that talk about what makes an organisation successful today (and tomorrow), there is again, an absolute wealth of information on this, and the critical value it is delivering. The evidence is profoundly strong so why are many senior leaders still not seeking out this information, and not looking to others who are doing things well and learning from them?
To me there is no question that For Those Who Want to Lead, Read. It's critical to keeping us all excited about the possibilities ahead, and how we tackle them.
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.”