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Relevant experience…

Are you an expert at what you do?  Do you have extensive knowledge and experience?  Are you your company’s “Go To” resource?  Or, are you the “Up and Comer” with aspirations to “Take over the world”?  The smartest subject matter expert I know at my company left my company.  It seems he felt his knowledge and experience were no longer relevant to my company’s needs.

Knowledge and experience are tricky things these days.  With answers to just about any question at our fingertips thanks to the World-Wide-Interweb, how much value do companies place in individual expertise?  Add in Artificial Intelligence and the Internet-of-Things; now machines might be those “Up and Comers” with aspirations to “Take over the world”.

At the current stage of my career I’m past “Up and Comer” and “Take over the world”.  What’s fulfilling for me is coaching and enabling those less knowledgeable and experienced with how to execute in today’s business-to-business selling environment.

I get a kick out of the people I work with, young and old, and their level of self-confidence.  Many of the young believe they “already know”; many of the old believe they’ve “already done”.  Neither looks at Learning & Development as relevant.

Well, what do I know?  Maybe they’re right.  Maybe my knowledge and experience are no longer relevant in the 21st century.  That’s why I continuously seek modern tools, tactics and techniques relevant for the sales profession.  Google Alerts; webinars; research papers; business books; MeetUps; every week I seek current thought leadership.  There is tons of thought leadership readily available. It’s the “current” and “relevant” parts that are tricky:

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. 

Alvin Toffler

What is today’s speed of change?  I mean, if you’ve been doing what you do for more than 36 months (maybe even 24 months), is your experience still relevant?  Experience and knowledge may no longer matter.  It may just boil down to whoever can learn, unlearn and relearn the fastest.  Is “Machine Learning” becoming our companies’ “Go To” resource?

With today’s rapid change do we even have a choice but to commit to continuous learning in our business pursuits?  As company leaders and aspiring leaders (the human kind, not the machines) update their strategic plans for competing on a worldwide basis, winning or losing may now boil down to the continuous learning environment they nurture and invest in.

It’s the “invest in” part that’s tricky.  There are lots of reasons leaders get spooked about investing in employees.  After all, study after study suggests that modern employees change jobs at an alarmingly rapid pace.  A leader may feel, “There goes that investment.”  Maybe… maybe not:

…what one CEO said about the risk of investing in a focused training initiative for his company.  Someone asked him, ‘What if you train everyone and they all leave?’   He responded, ‘What if we don’t train them and they all stay? 

Stephen M.R. Covey

Is this CEO’s thought leadership still relevant?  What is the shelf life of thought leadership in the 21st Century anyway?  I believe it’s that relevance part that’s the tricky part.  But how is relevance achieved?  How is it measured?  I mean, Learning & Development is delivered; results are measured; how do these connect?

I wonder if relevance and experience are related and complimentary to one another; or if they have become mutually exclusive?  Oh well, maybe the machines will figure it out.

GAP

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