Friday, 12 November 2010

What do continuous learning and success have in common?

At the moment I am really enjoying Rob Yeung's book The Extra One Per Cent. It explores through research and other techniques what those who are really successful have that others do not have and is very insightful as well as surprising in some cases.

As you may know, one of the key projects I am currently involved in is looking at how to develop an intense learning environment in a corporate environment where the emphasis is on performance with behaviour a secondary consideration for the most part. Challenging that's for sure.

It was with great excitement therefore that I read about Richard Boyatzis' work, a professor in the United States, who has examined the behaviours linked to attainment for over a decade. He spent two years working with outstanding partners from a very large Professional Services firm to assess their behaviours and subsequent performance. The interesting part was the findings from the monitoring of the partners over seven successive quarters to find out not only how much money they bought into the business but also the profitability of their work. He looked at a range of over 20 skills and the only two that were linked to both revenue generation and profitability were what he termed "values learning" and "facilitates learning."

This is amazing because what it is saying is that contrary to popular belief, it is not only coaches that need to continue their development and learning through adulthood, in fact we all do. Yeung goes on to explain about the T shaped mind being the vehicle for doing that. In other words individuals need to increase the depth of their knowledge in their specialist area whilst maintaining a broad interest in a wide range of topics.

You may say that none of this is rocket science but let me ask you a question. How much time do you put aside each week to keep yourself informed of developments in your field and beyond? Put it another way what do you do to address this need of continuous learning? How do you get a stretch that takes you into your learning zone?


  1. If you found the book interesting (and I hope you did as you wrote about the Awe chapter!), could you write a short, positive review of the book on amazon please? Because it would help other readers to understand why it might interest them too.

    Many thanks!
    Rob Yeung

  2. Hi Rob thanks for popping by. I have yet to finish the book - it is written in such a way that one can dip into it so certainly will when I finish it. May I return the request and say if you like the blog, do recommend it to others. It is always great to get new readers and their own input on what I write ;-)