Next week I will have the privilege of speaking at the MLC. My topic is “Continual Leadership Development for Seasoned Executives: Keeping Your Leadership Fresh by Building a Learning Mindset.” I love the topic, though I am not certain whether they invited me to speak because I am “seasoned” (lit. old) or they hope I might have something to say about life-long learning. In the coming days I will post some thoughts about what lifelong learning involves and why it matters, especially as we advance in (years, uh…) our careers.
Several years ago, the University of Virginia conducted a study aimed at identifying the characteristics of “Learning Leaders.” They found that these leaders (1) experienced a number of life events that caused them to dramatically rethink their basic assumptions; (2) demonstrated agility of thought, adapted easily to new situations and saw patterns and connections between seemingly unconnected variables; (3) sought out learning opportunities and learned from many sources; and (4) communicated in metaphors and analogies and conducted discussions in a nonlinear manner.
The shocker of the study is that researchers found that only 10% of executive leaders possessed a learning mindset. One-in-ten kept learning, while the other nine were content with what they already knew or had acheived. Which ones do you think were the greatest asset to their organizations?