Learning for growth [Archives:2003/02/Business & Economy]

January 13 2003

The Road Ahead
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Learning is one of the most important aspects in everyone’s life. I am not referring to what people learn or are taught in schools or colleges. I am talking about that learning which you gain from experience.
In the business world, they say that if you want to grow you must dedicate your self to learning; learning through paying attention to experienced people who know the secrets of success, learning by working with others who are successful and listening to their stories.
In addition to that, feedback is critical in the learning process. Feedback includes praise, criticism, recommendations and personal comments. A good learner must use his powers of observation to understand the wisdom behind feedback and be guided by that.
Although nobody likes to be criticized, criticism teaches us a lot of important lessons that we can use in life and bring our attention to minor issues that are really dangerous signs. On the other hand, many attack the messengers of bad news although their criticism is for the job done not the person who did the job. This will cause the flow of feedback to come to halt and hence stop the learning process.
To grow in business, you should keep in mind that you are continuously being tested. To pass, you must earn the respect of the people you work with or receive feedback from. Teachers are everywhere and they include everyone you interact with. In other words anybody who has particular expectations and perceptions about your business or work and provides you with feedback from which you can learn and grow. That somebody is your teacher.
Finding a good mentor is also important in the learning process, but it isn’t easy. Look for someone who is an expert in that particular field and try to find a connection between you and him and then establish a relation ship. Remember, the best relationships are based on choice and built on liking. The more liking there is in the relationship, the easier the learning process is.
There are many ways of establishing such a relationship. After selecting a particular mentor, ask for advice from him, and prove that you are dedicated to learn and that his advice is valuable. Or provide honest and sincere feedback. Such feedback helps in creating mutual respect between both parities.
Shared interests usually create the best relationships because they include reciprocity and can enlist their support. And remember, you must always be willing to provide and accept feedback. Otherwise nobody can help you and learning will be less.
Remember: Seek feedback. It provides you with learning that helps you to grow.