Change 1 - Begin by rebooting your mind
You will start two learning activities. Do them religiously for just 90 days.
The First Learning Activity: Read a non-fiction book. Preferably a learning book. You will find a list I recommend here or pick any of the non-fiction bestsellers. Choose them for their diversity and variety. Not just subjects you are interested in. Make notes while you read that book. Make notes in the book itself. Underline, highlight, circle points you think you can use. Highlight words whose meaning you don’t understand and learn those words.
Now write a book review of the book. Click here for getting started
Once you have written the book review, send it to some magazines. Your aim is to get the book review published. You will be surprised by the response from some of the magazines who are eager to get book reviewers. At the very least, pin up this review on the company notice board.
Next make a 10 -15 slide ppt on the book and offer to conduct it for your team or any other group. Finish this task in 14 days. I.e. the first book in a fortnight. Then follow it up with another book. You MUST aim to complete two of them every month, working towards one a week.
Your second learning activity: Spend half an hour per day on sites like www.ted.com. This site has fascinating talks by amazing people on interesting topics. Make it a habit to see at least a couple of talks each day. Some of the talks can be seen with kids. For example watch this one.
This gives you a distilled knowledge of subject matter experts in just a few minutes (most of the talks are under 15 minutes) While watching the videos pay attention to :
What is the purpose of this step?
Firstly, wisdom is the sum total of our intelligence and experience. Intelligence is nothing but information that is stored in usable, retrievable format in your head. The books we read help us increase that repository of information.
If you follow this exercise religiously (many people who follow this program read a book in about 3-4 days, and you can get there in time) then each year you are 26 books ahead of anyone who doesn’t do this. That is the equivalent of about five college degrees worth of knowledge. Also the books I have chosen have cross connections. This means they link into each other and have tremendous capability to act as force multipliers.
Secondly, when we write a book review, we are exercising our mind in a very important capability. And this is the ability to synthesize information to its essence. Good leaders have the knack of ‘getting to the crux’ of the issue. When we read, process and distill a book’s contents into just two or three pages, we are learning a fascinating skill. What do we keep in and what do we leave out? As you will see, it is not easy. But the notes you make will help you achieve this. They also teach you how to keep track of the important stuff and not get lost in details.
Finally, by reading the book, you have only done what is needed to learn. Now you need to teach it… Leaders are like funnels. They have a broad and a narrow end. The narrow part is what the followers see so it doesn’t matter how broad the other end is! It doesn’t matter what you know, what matters is - what you can teach. If you feel awkward about this, start by informally discussing the book with some friends or even family. Or team up with couple of people going through a similar journey. But this is an important step.
You have to cover it right through the sequence I narrated above. The sequence is “Learn – Absorb – Teach”